This time of year and always, we are so thankful to work with the incredible team we have in our supermarkets. We feel that they are the reason our stores are known for their warm and welcoming atmosphere. Time and time again we see our staff go above and beyond to help, chat with and listen to customers who are treated like family. The people inside our supermarkets are what give it HEART.
A customer recently experienced this and passed along an incredible story that we want to share with you. Please join us in thanking and celebrating produce team member Joshua Dwyer for the great work he does and for taking the time to show kindness to customers. It really does make a huge difference, especially in these uncertain and sometimes scary times we are living in.
Submitted by Joanne Tuinstra of Hamilton, Ontario
In this day and age of COVID consciousness and heightened awareness regarding the virus, I have observed a change in both myself and in others. This change seems to be one where tolerance, patience, compassion, empathy, and kindness have been tested.
I recently spent more than a month home in Newfoundland and I would like to share a personal experience which occurred for me on September 24, 2020.
My Mother is a widow who lives alone. In all of my visits home my mom has always shopped with me but this time something was very different. I became concerned for my mom because I was seeing her confidence, enthusiasm, and excitement in “going out” dwindle and instead, a degree of anxiety was setting in.
She described an incident she had recently experienced in a department store where she had inadvertently gone down an aisle in the wrong direction. She said she was sharply scolded by another customer and told to go back and go up the correct aisle. My mom felt vulnerable, scared, and alone in that moment. So now, she no longer wants to “go out” unless she absolutely has to. She sadly said, “Joanne, the world is just not a nice place. Not anymore.”
I truly understood because during many of my shopping errands I witnessed examples of intolerance, impatience, and unkindness toward each other. I realized my mom was going to soon need an extra back up system in place in case she can not get out to shop. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do and knew I’d be leaving NL again in a little more than a week. It was then that something incredible happened!
I was shopping in the produce section at a supermarket and was deep in thought about my mom when I overheard a conversation taking place behind me. For whatever reason, when I heard how the young man was speaking with an older lady I just had to tune in!
I turned around and paid attention to how he looked at her, the tone he used, the guidance he gave her. They were clearly strangers and yet the way in which he communicated with her was as if she was his own family member. He wanted the best for her. This young man caught the attention of others by his kind gestures and he has no idea because he is so busy ‘being there’ for others.
Before my shopping was complete, I made it a point to speak to the Manager who seemed to know immediately who I was describing and shared that they receive these types of comments from customers regarding this young man all the time. He shared that the young man is working and paying toward his post-secondary education. Why was I not surprised?
I confided how I was concerned about my Mom perhaps being too nervous to come out to shop for groceries. They provided me with information of how I can shop online there for my mom and they will compile and deliver the order. When I shared this experience with my Mom she smiled and I could see her warm to the idea of shopping again. She reminded me of the fun times she and my Dad used to have at that supermarket and how that’s her favorite supermarket because they treat everyone like family! I breathed a sigh of relief and felt hopeful.
I feel a great deal of thanks to a wonderful young man working in the produce department of Powell’s Supermarket in Bay Roberts, for giving me yet another reason/example to trust and believe in our future.
You, young man, and those like you, will continue to change the world for the better. Thank you so much for helping me to see and feel that my Mother in Bay Roberts is in a kinder, more compassionate place because amazing people, such as yourself.
This young man has touched the lives of many and through his acts of kindness, this young man is able to help heal some of the emotional/psychological/mental hurts that people may be experiencing due to fears and uncertainties related to COVID and the changes we are experiencing in our world because of it.
This young man, without even knowing it, has brought awareness to the unknown/often misunderstood/unclear/often frightening symptoms of Mental Health struggles and has also demonstrated how little it can sometimes take, ‘being there in a moment’ to make a world of difference in a person’s life.
Thank you, Young Man. Thank you, Newfoundland.
© 2019 Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers