Thursday, March 11, 2010

For Delia

There's this woman, Delia, who comes into the store every week or so. She must be in her 60's or 70's, slightly feeble but by no means immobile, quite grumpy, callous. She is always dressed very nicely, has her hair styled and her red lipstick on. Most of my co-workers try to avoid helping her, and so seeing as how I seem to have a special knack for dealing with difficult I usually wind up helping her. She always needs extra special care: poring through English-Spanish Catholic Bibles, trying to find a font she can read, helping her finding a seat and then taking the stuff she doesn't want, etc. No big deal. I try to be extra sweet and attentive to her needs, listening to her complaints about our lack of public restroom and offering to pass her concerns on up. I try to give her the most pleasant experience possible while she is in our store just so she's not unhappy and because it makes everything easier for everyone. It's hard for me to understand why a person would be so cranky all of the time. Maybe it's because she has a hard life, maybe she is alone. But something really struck me the other day with Delia. She came in, coiffed and all made up as usual, to ask if her special orders were in. They were not, so I reminded her that she can just call us beforehand so that she doesn't make a trip for nothing. She said that it didn't matter, that she just lives down the street anyway. That was when it occurred to me that just maybe Delia gets up each day, gets dressed and puts her makeup on, and goes out because she has to.

There's something so sad to me about an elderly lady living alone. My heart breaks at the thought. Life is so fleeting, and to be nearing the end and without a companion makes me so sad. This reminds me of Jeannie, another customer who was taken a very strong liking to me who I suspect is also alone. She calls and chats with me about every day things (for an abnormally long amount of time if I do not interject), but I just cannot bear to interrupt her sometimes when I imagine her so desperate for a friend.

Maybe I am too "soft" as my boss would say. But if I can be a little ray of sunshine in these ladies lives, how can I turn away? Delia was in the other day. I asked how she was doing (ill, sadly), told her it was nice to see her, and found her a seat.

1 comment:

  1. Awwww. I remember working at Olive Garden I would always have a togo order every Firday night from "Richard." He was very particular about his order but he also just made me feel so sad for him.