I have been visiting the same supermarket for a while now, some weeks more frequently than others. I know this probably sounds strange but I enjoy grocery shopping, I love walking the aisles and seeking out endless creative possibilities!
But truthfully one of the highlights of this ritual is a girl named Piper. She is a full time employee there, early twenties, always laughing, a voice that echoes and eyes that smile. Every new customer she greets with the same level of enthusiasm, joy and genuine interest. Some respond, others are cordial and then those that are plain rude.
I watched her from another aisle; I lined up just to be in hers because she intrigued me so much. Some would say curiosity killed the cat? But I kept thinking “what makes this girl “always happy”. I had to know, so I asked cautiously and gently, over time and visits, her story unfolded surprisingly, willingly and effortlessly.
She worked to support her brother – both parents had been killed in a car accident and at sixteen years of age she became an adult. Dropping out of school, working two jobs to keep the family unit and supporting her sibling through school was her drive.
Her eyes spoke loudly with emotion as she recounted her story “My mum always used to say; when life throws you lemons – turn them into lemonade. I want them to be happy “up there” and I know they are looking down so they need to see us ok. I just choose to be happy because it helps me, and I think that would make them proud”
Gulp … what was an appropriate response to that? “Well done” “good for you” or any other basic pat on the back response!
Nope, she deserved more and it went something like this:
I want you to know that I am a complete stranger but you have inspired me from afar. But now that I have heard your story I think you are even more incredible and I 100% believe that your parents are happy “up there” because they get to watch you every day and what a joy you are too them!
Piper represents another important lesson of “never judge a book by its cover” scenario. Perhaps many patrons just pass her demeanour down to personality and/or someone who REALLY loves her job. It would be easily assumed, however what I continually learn in life is every person has a story, things are never what they seem and human beings behave a certain way for a reason whether it be good or bad.
Many people inspire me, some you would know well due to their name, brand and reputation. But it’s the individuals like Piper who are the unsung heroes in the “everyday” of inspiration to me, she represents possibility, hope, and resilience not for the entire world to see but merely one check out at a time …
Lemons never looked more refreshing!