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Turquoise is a bluish green color and a prized gemstone. At the age of 18 when I finally got my own room, it was the color I chose to paint my bedroom walls. Some friends that have traveled out West have come back with the colorful gem hanging from a necklace or sitting perched atop a ring. It also happens to be the name of a very kind cashier at Shop Rite.
It was a Wednesday morning, and I found myself picking up some items at the grocery store with my one-year-old son. The items were not for us but for my employers, a wonderful family whose kids I’ve nannied for years. Silas, an on the go, rambunctious toddler, did well sitting in the cart, chatting away, announcing everything I placed in the cart. Coming down one aisle, he squawked when he saw a coveted package of Goldfish, his latest obsession. “Fishies!” he yelled. Since I had a few more items to get and I valued his continued cooperation, I relented and handed him the bag. He giggled and dug his chubby hands into the package, pulling out fistfuls of colored little fish. With him munching happily, I finished the shopping and began unpacking the cart on the conveyor belt. The cashier greeted me with a warm smile. The transaction was quick and soon the total appeared on the screen. I reached for my wallet where I kept the credit card from my nanny family. It was the card I used for all the transactions I made for them.
Swipe. Pause…declined. Let’s try that again. Swipe. Pause…declined. A feeling of dread swept over me.
You see, my phone had decided it would no longer work a few days prior to this. My husband valiantly tried online and over the phone to figure out the problem with Apple support but it was in vain. The earliest we could get an appointment at an Apple store was Thursday, which was the day after this shopping trip, so I had no phone. I did have a debit card that was mine I could use but my husband and I were budgeting carefully and this card only had an allotted amount. It was not enough to cover the cost, so that card too would be declined. If I had my phone and Internet access I could have easily transferred some funds.
Let me fill you on some personal things now. This summer was hard. This summer was tragic. My brother passed away in June from an undetected heart defect leaving behind his wife and three young children. Just three months later my husband’s sister passed away during childbirth leaving behind a husband, seven children, including the precious infant. A day prior to the shopping trip, my sister was told the results from her recent medical test warranted a consultation with a cardiologist. This all was weighing heavy on my heart.
So there in that moment, as the cashier called over a manager, I felt overwhelmed. Not just with this experience of not having money to pay for groceries, but with life; this incredibly sad, incredibly hard season of life. The manager offered some solutions, none of which were viable. The realization that I had to leave empty handed dawned on me and I started to feel them, wet and hot, falling down my cheeks. Big fat tears rolling down while the cashier and manager froze and exchanged glances. Silas, oblivious to anything, was still happily munching on goldfish that I still had yet to purchase.
Quickly, Turquoise closed her lane so no one else had to witness my meltdown. Pulling out her personal cellphone, she offered it me saying ‘it’s not the best phone and the Internet is really slow but you can use it.” Sniffling, I took the phone and was able to transfer funds so I could pay for everything. While I did this, Turquoise entertained my son, giving him stickers, talking to him. Finished and feeling slightly embarrassed, I thanked her profusely. She kindly touched my arm telling me not to worry about it, everyone has been there with hard days.
I’m so grateful for Turquoise. She showed me, a complete stranger, kindness when I was feeling very vulnerable. I should have left the store empty-handed, but I didn’t. Turquoise inspires me and she serves as a reminder. We interact daily with strangers – on the road, at the store, in restaurants, at work. You don’t know where someone is in life; if they are experiencing hardships, depression or loss. All around you are hurting people. So be kind. You just never know who you may impact.
Hi, I’m Kathryn Lerro, mother of two lovely daughters, wife of one fine man.
After 24 years of wandering (thanks to my husband’s Air Force career), we are back home on the East Coast. We currently live in Philadelphia where I enjoy writing, taking long walks, decorating my front window in South Philly tradition, talking to interesting people and eating great food.
As I’ve met people on my travels I’ve become keenly aware that most of us could use a healthy dose of encouragement. It is for this reason that I try to weave a message of hope into everything I write.
Hi, I am Melinda Haas, but you can call me Mindy. A true introvert, I delight in solitude with a good book or a movie. I like dabbling in nature photography while taking rigorous hikes. I adore my husband who is a ton of fun. He shares my wanderlust as well as my appetite for Indian and Thai food. Very often, you’ll find us dancing to Cumbia in the kitchen while we make dinner. We also love road tripping and exploring new places. (New England is our new favorite!)
Through my writing, I want to encourage and embolden others to push past the limits they place on themselves. I want to help people see that they can accomplish more than they think they were capable of.
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