This morning at Aldi, I was trying to get to the milk. I was waiting patiently for an older gentleman to grab his. I needed a gallon of 2% and a gallon of whole and he was parked in front of both doors.
He seemed confused, as if he wasn't sure which to get.
Poor thing, I thought.
He finally grabbed a gallon of whole milk and moved forward a little bit so that I could make my selection. I could tell he was watching me.
After I grabbed the 2%, he put his whole milk back and said, "I think I'll get what you're getting."
I looked at him and smiled a weak smile trying to figure out if I was dealing with dementia or perversion. Turns out it was neither.
"My wife recently passed away. She did all the shopping and I have no idea what to buy," he said with a shaky voice.
His eyes were filling up with tears and I didn't know what to say. I gave him a sympathetic smile and told him that either one would be good.
"Well, at least I know I won't go hungry," he said as he glanced around at all the food in the store.
"That's right!" was my weak response. Why don't I ever know what to say. Ever. I'm always floundering for the right words. "Well," I said with a pause, "good luck."
"Thank you," he said with a smile.
As we went our separate directions, I prayed a silent prayer for that sweet man and hoped that I had done enough.
I noticed him talking to someone else in the store. I bet he was lonely. Should I have talked to him longer?
When I got to the bananas, I wished that I had offered to walk through the store with him. Everything in Aldi's produce department is good except their bananas.
But I didn't talk to him longer that I did because I always feel self-conscious and never know what to say. And I didn't walk through the store with him because I'm selfish, I had things that I needed to accomplish.
I'm sure the smile, the quick words and the prayer were all nice enough.
But were they enough?