Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why I Cried at Safeway

Dear Top People at Safeway,                                      

I have lived all over the country and have called many grocery store chains my 'home' store. I currently live in the mountains of Colorado and my nearest place to purchase the food that keeps my teenagers alive is a Safeway store. To say I know the employees of your Evergreen Colorado Safeway store well would be an understatement.

Until today I've been very pleased by the service I get at my local store. I load up my digital coupons, buy what's on sale, and accumulate our much needed gas points. 

I adore the 'kid' who works in the fruits and veggies section, who always has a smile and never seems bored with stacking apples and re-filling packages of baby carrots. Just about every time I'm shopping, one of your employees asks me, as I'm roaming the aisles, if there is anything they can help me with. The staff at the deli counter keeps my family in great turkey and potato salad every week. And the check out gang is so familiar to me that they almost feel like seeing family every week.

But today your people surprised me. At least, one of your people did, and I feel that she represents the entirety of your staff.

This afternoon I had the usual overflowing cart and was just about done with my hour long shopping trip. On the long haul to the check out lanes I briefly stopped by the Easter section. As I stood there, contemplating what I should throw in the cart, a young woman wearing a Safeway shirt asked me, "Can I help you find anything?"

I'm used to this question. I almost said, no thanks. But I instantly decided that I could use a little help. 

You see, I was searching for some Easter candy to send to my son. He's holed up in some remote location in the Middle East, and will most likely be doing military exercises with his Army platoon on the day that the big Bunny comes to houses around here. I was really hoping to send him some Easter celebration in a care package, but one thing was tripping me up. I can't mail him chocolate. It has a good chance of melting before it reaches him.

So I was faced with packing an Easter care package that didn't have chocolate. No bunnies. No eggs. None of the fun stuff. I shared my dilemma with your employee. She spent a few minutes helping me track down some pretty good options. I thought I'd looked through it all, but she ended up offering some pretty decent substitution suggestions. Then she went on her way.

A half an hour later I had my full cart unloaded onto the conveyor belt, scanned, and re-packed into the cart. Except for one pile. At first I thought the check out woman had forgotten to add all of my Easter selections to my bill. I assumed she thought they belonged to the customer behind me.

When I asked, this is what she said, "No, we aren't charging you for this stuff. The young lady who helped you pick it out told me to suspend the transaction and let her pay for it...for your son."

I was shocked. But sure enough, after I paid for my family's groceries, I was handed a bag full of Easter fun, with no charge.

As a mom who has a son in the Middle East, sometimes holidays are hard. Even when I have three other children 'back home', the one who is not here is the one who weighs heavy on your heart. Especially when he's in a place that's not quite as safe as an Easter bunny's lap.  All I can do is send him care packages and spend a lot of time praying for his safe return.

The kindness your employee showed today means more than she'll ever know. I don't know if she has a family member in the military, or if she's just full of patriotism, but she sure made my day. And the day of my husband, who was as shocked and honored as I was, when I told him the story tonight at the dinner table.

When I got home, I shared this on my facebook page - this act of kindness that your employee did, to make me walk to my car with tears running down my face. Within an hour I had 57 'likes'. I wanted to let everyone know that there are good people (and good companies) out there, doing little acts of kindness that might not seem like much - but just might make one certain mom's day.

I'll be sending this letter to you and to my local store. I want your employee to know how much I appreciated her message to our family. And I want the rest of the staff of your store to know, just when I thought I couldn't feel more positive about my experiences there every week, one of them steps up to the plate and hits a home run.

One Very Loyal Shopper

1 comment:

Milton said...

That employee saw the mom's heart and decided to make a difference for "one" who could not be home for this special holiday. God keeps good records and that employee will be rewarded, not because she was looking for the reward, but because fortunately you reap what you sew. Someone will step in and return that blessing...it may be the company or it may be a random stranger who hears the story. This restores my faith in humans, well at least some.