I think I’m haunted.
I’m at the grocery store. I shop. I pack my car. I return my cart.
Sounds normal enough.
I frequent a place where Shopping Is a Pleasure. Each time I check out, the bagger asks if I need assistance. I love this when I have a 50-pound bag of dog food or a few cases of beer. But most of the time, I politely say, I’ve got it today, with a smile. And today was not any different.
I wheel my items to the car. Fill my trunk. And trek back to the store with the cart. I must do this because, at my store, there are very few cart-return racks.
I (almost) always return my cart for a very simple reason. One day, someone said to me, that my actions could have a profound impact on someone’s day.
Really? I asked.
Yes, he said. Take for example a grocery cart. If someone does not put their cart away and the wind shifts, the cart could roll into a car and cause a dent.
Hmmm. I thought about the example and agreed, putting the cart away was something I could do to help someone else have a better day.
Since that conversation, I (almost) always return my cart. And today I did. I loaded the groceries into my car, closed the trunk, and wheeled the cart past four parked cars, across a wide thoroughfare, over the curb, and to the sidewalk in front of the store.
I then walked back to my car and opened the door only to turn around at the sound of a cart rumbling toward me. It was the same one I just put away. It had rolled off the curb, across the thoroughfare, and past the four parked cars. I watched in amazement at the trajectory and was unable to extract myself fast enough to save my bumper.
As it approached, a woman took a stride forward and exclaimed, I’ve got it! And she did. She pushed it back from whence it came. What had been an ordinary day almost wasn’t. But fortunately for me, someone else had altered the chain of events that stopped the wayward cart from ruining my day.
So, from now on, when the bagger asks if I need help to the car, I’m going to smile and politely say, Great. I’m the white Honda over there.