From A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul


Earth is crammed with heaven.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I hate shopping for groceries. I treat it like running a marathon through the aisles, and I pride myself on using the same seasoned check-out personnel to ensure a hasty retreat from the insanity during the holiday seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Christmas-aholic! I just hate grocery shopping!

Imagine my dismay when I picked one of the “wrong lines” that was 10 deep with overstuffed carts. My temper rose when all of the other lines seemed to be inching toward the cashier and ours was at a standstill. Echoes of “What’s the problem?” and “Why are we putting up with this?” erupted from our conga line.

Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the culprit behind the delay was Chuck, the sacker. He talked to each and every item as he gently placed it into the sack, ‘’Oh, Mr. Cake Mix, you are going to become a Christmas dessert for someone special. Hello, Mr. Cereal, you are going to make the boys and girls grow up nice and healthy,” etc. After all of the items were sacked and ready to go he would look at the customer and say, “I know your family loves you because you take such good care of them. Merry Christmas!” Did I shut up and wait my turn!

Chuck helped me take everything to my car and I tipped him $2. He looked at the two dollar bills; he looked at me. Then his face lit up, and he jumped in the air and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Look at me, look at me! Someone thinks I’m worth two whole dollars!” as he danced his way back into the store.

The next time I went to the store, one of the employees said she had witnessed that particular day’s events. She said, “Thanks for giving Chuck a tip. We know he has value, but it is far more important for Chuck to know he has value.”

I replied, “No, I have to thank him for reminding me of the true Christmas spirit and for teaching me this priceless lesson.”

Petey Parker

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