The dealership phoned and left a voicemail that the car was ready for pick-up. The call came earlier than expected which was not bad news. The garage doors to the Service Department were open on this beautiful spring day. My agent was nowhere to be found; I assumed she was out to lunch. The other agent recognized me as I walked (and rolled) by and so he immediately jumped to take care of me and close out the work order. He walked me to the desk to deal with the paper work that was already prepared and waiting for my signature. It came as a bit of a surprise that the employee at the check out desk greeted me by name as soon as I stepped into her area. When I made a comment about my surprise, she surprised me even more. She and my agent had discussed me before I arrived; they discussed me, as a person, and not as a work order. It seems I had made something of an impression on these two ladies which was not bad news.
The agent in the meantime backed my car into the bay area, had the windows rolled down and the air conditioning blowing. While I adjusted the driver’s seat up closer to the steering wheel, the dealership courtesy driver loaded the rollator into my car. The loaner car that the dealership had assigned me for the previous 24 hours was nicer than my car, larger and more powerful with more bells and whistles. But oh how much more did my car fit me and it felt like home to be back into my seat again.
A stop at a local department store was next on my agenda for the day. I felt at home there too; years ago, I worked for that chain store but in a location far, far away. Oddly enough, it seems that every time I visit this store now, I seem to be wearing the khaki pants that were part of my uniform back then.
It is lovely to walk through the store and hear the employee radios sounding off and even more lovely to not have to respond, nor to pay attention to the directives and questions being aired. I subconsciously watch the team members and mentally sort out who are new employees and who might be the team leaders; I notice what shelves that need to be zoned and any re-shop packaging. So I’m basically loafing around while I’m looking for the couple of items on my shopping list that brought me to the store.
Much later, I return to the front of the store for check out. I catch the eye of a team member waiting behind her register where there are no guests waiting in line to be rung up. I quickly shift over to her; I look at her name tag. Her name reminded me of an European name and I could not sort out how to pronounce it just be reading it. She spoke to immediately; indeed, there was a very strong European accent. Normally I am very chatty with team members but today my mind was at war with my body and I was afraid my body might win the argument at any moment. I desperately wanted to be in my car and on my way home.
The team member asked if I wanted to apply for a charge card (required of team members assigned to a register) and when I shook my head negatively, she gave me the total due. While we waited silently for my card authorization, the lady made an unexpected comment; she honored me with a compliment. I gave her my undivided attention then with my eyes wide open. I had been in my own little world and could have reached out to her; it was obvious that America was not her mother country. Yet it was she who was a messenger to me. “You have such beautiful skin; I guess people tell you that all the time.” The lady was probably my age, or younger; whatever her age, it was obvious she was tired, weary. I told her the truth that I do nothing special and that I probably could thank my grandmother for good genes. Other guests began to line up behind me and my body became more insistent to get moving.
The parking lot was a bit busy with foot traffic as well as moving vehicles and vehicles stopping to unload at inconvenient locations. We were all dodging each other. A fellow shopper was walking by my car just as I was placing my packages onto the back seat. Again, a lady broke into my small world into which I had retreated. “Can I take that shopping cart for you, Ma’am?” I thanked her and thanked her again. “You have SO made my day; thank you!” She smiled and then gave a little giggle as she walked away.
Emissaries of grace and messengers of encouragement met me at every twist and turn today. God brought them to me in HIS perfect timing and HE inspired them to enter into “my little world”.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.