Can I Return Your Trolley For you, Dear?
As a rule, there’s not much in the way of kindness on offer in busy shopping centre carparks – especially from strangers performing the same tiresome routine as you.
Well today turned out to be my lucky-ducky-day!
Having pushed a way too over-loaded trolley out to my car (I detest the weekly supermarket battle but it’s just got to be done), I was puffing a bit and probably looked as hot and bothered as I felt.
Whilst then transferring the weighty grocery bags into my car boot, I remembered a couple of essentials I’d forgotten to buy (why didn’t I make a goddam list?) so my head was miles away when an older man with lush white beard and dainty gold spectacles appeared beside me asking if he could perhaps give me a hand?
Gesturing towards my now empty cart he smiled and said in a most gentlemanly voice, “Can I return that for you, dear?”
My initial reaction was to decline politely this neatly-dressed chap’s offer. For heaven’s sake, I was the carer who looked after elderly people – it should be ME offering to help HIM!
And he was clearly no spring chicken. Although still quite sprightly, his light-weight frame and obvious hip issue made him look far too frail to be flinging other people’s grocery carts about.
Not only that, but I had to go back into the shopping centre anyway, which meant walking directly past the Trolley Return bay. How easy-peasy it would be for me to whip my own cart (with it’s annoying dicky wheel) into the loading bay as I dashed by.
However, something in this earnest senior’s eyes made me zip my lip and realise that this was in fact, not about me.
Turns out that Ray (yes, we got chatting) was having his 90th birthday next week and he was really looking forward to the afternoon High Tea his family and friends (“the ones that haven’t dropped off, yet!”) were holding in his honour. He told me how he had never felt so good – perhaps he might even have a gin or two on the BIG DAY!
“Gee whiz, I’m excited to be alive, Dollie!”
Ray then went on to explain how having something to look forward to and feel special about, had made such a difference to his life. Especially after losing his wife Anne last year ‘to the Cancer’ had left him feeling lonely, depressed and quite lost.
Indeed, I recognised there was far more significance in allowing lovely, high-spirited Ray assist with my ridiculous supermarket trolley than there was in me trying to save time and supposed unnecessary fuss.
And it wasn’t because Ray just happened to be passing that he’d felt obliged to make the offer; nor because he thought I actually really needed any real help.
It was just because he could.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAY!!!