Photo by Anna Shvets on

Have you been lucky, as I have?  Along the way I’ve met some unforgettable people…giving, loving, smart and witty humans who, while brilliant and academically accomplished, were equally gifted, big-hearted beings of love. Quick to laugh, quick to forgive, recognizing that every person they meet is carrying an unseen burden of some sort.  Best to be generous, less judgmentalLight whenever possible because the world sets so many hurdles before us.  Just say NO!  No to furrowed brows and rigidity!

If my friend Phil had been with me yesterday when I stopped at Walgreens to grab Valentine’s Day candy for my sister and her disabled housemates, I wonder what he would’ve done in response to a nasty lady, berating a cashier? 

As I scanned the overwhelming array of heart-shaped confections – primarily searching for sister Lisa’s favorites – Reese’s peanut butter hearts – I overheard a woman snarl, “Then get a manager, stupid.  You’re slow and dumb.” 

Radar up!  I only needed to turn my head a tad to take in the scene.  Angry lady yelling at an older gentleman behind the counter…she…waving a receipt and gesturing in his face…and he?  Trembling.  Even from twenty feet away, he shook and I could see it.  Couldn’t she?  Oh…right.  Rage blindness.  She saw nothing…except herself…and her anger about allegedly being shorted.  She screamed, “You owe me nine dollars and twenty-one cents more, you idiot.  It’s right here on my receipt…see….my rewards points!?” 

I had no idea whether she was right nor not.  Maybe the poor guy DID make a mistake, but her delivery and name calling of a clearly disabled employee…sitting on a stool, I suspected, because he was less than ambulatory?  No, no, no!  I grabbed my candy and hustled to get in line, instinctively I think, trying to be near the cashier, maybe to give him a nod or consideration with my eyes.  Support without intervening?

As the manager joined the fray, Mrs. Nutball rewound her rant and began again…torturous for the man who still trembled behind the counter.  I watched the manager…she tried to figure out the rationale for the refund but I could see the waving and flailing and nasty, high-pitched tirade made it impossible for her to comprehend what Mrs. Nutball alleged…so she went to the register and pulled out a ten-dollar bill and gave it to the women.  Payment to make her disappear…on her broomstick or whatever.

The manager turned to the cashier and gave him a gentle shoulder tap.  A familiar ‘there, there’ motion.  I appreciated that and wondered if she’d suggest he take a break.  She didn’t, so I was his next customer.  His hands shook as he scanned the candy, slowly and delicately bagging each piece, making sure the Gatorade I bought for the hubster was in a separate bag, and then gently, he lowered the candy into another bag. 

Was he slow and methodical?  Yes.  And as he took care with my purchases, I thanked him for bagging things separately and he looked up, cautiously, to meet my smiling face.  Was I another tyrant, he must’ve wondered?  And then, thinking about my friend Phil who was fearless and driven by compassion in all things, I added, “I’m so sorry about what happened before.  I heard what she said to you.  I’m so sorry.”  I heard Mrs. Nutball lambast him using trigger words wrapped in anger.  Slow and dumb?  No, no.  We do not speak that way…thinking of the countless times sweet sister Lisa, developmentally disabled and different, suffered as nasty comments were spewed in her direction.

The cashier.  Even though there were plenty of customers behind me, he stopped, with tears in his eyes and leaned in, whispering, “Thank you so much.  She scared me and I was only trying to help.  You are very kind.”  Oh my.  The trip to Walgreens?  I wasn’t expecting to cry…but it was okay.  My friend Phil?  He would’ve done the same…maybe more…acknowledge….be brave…worry less about yourself whenever you can.  Think about others…lead with kindness. 

My friend Phil is a man of many talents.  His compassion and finesse with people? Life goals, right there, but he has another, trademark superpower.  Self-deprecating humor…turned into teachable moments.  I’d love to introduce you to him with a fun story.  One of my all-time favorites.  Take a peek – here’s the link – to today’s Heart of the Matter post for more on Phil and why he’s a hero, my exemplar.

Love and hugs,

Vicki 💕

53 thoughts on “It Happened at Walgreens…

    1. Oh…I’m with you, VJ. I wish I knew. I can only imagine that she was/is carrying ten tons of torment of her own. Know what I mean? Thank you so much for reading and for your comment. Means a lot. Xo! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Tears…for all of us, dear Victoria. This “human” journey is not for the faint of heart. God love you for being so kind and compassionate to the cashier.
    I’m truly grateful–now–for the agony that I experienced in 2006 with my sudden divorce; for it taught me so many lessons, which still continue. I was broken, and I knew that people could see it; but it helped me to realize that all of us are dealing with situations. I’m not defending the actions that occurred through that woman (not in the least), but as I read the account, I couldn’t help but think that the programming that she demonstrated had to get inside of her somehow. From my understanding of the mind, it only expresses what it has within it. What was she called–and how many times?
    My prayer: God…please, love all of us and help us to express more wisdom, kindness, and love. We have so much to learn.
    Sending love, love, love.
    Art 🙏🏻🧡🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Art. Your point is so important…I mentioned this to VJ, too — hard to know what sort of torment the angry lady was carrying. We truly don’t know — but oh boy – we see it when it’s expressed in a wayward way, like yesterday’s rant. Misdirected anger? Maybe so — as you said – we have no idea what pain she’s suffered…is suffering. Not an excuse, but it’s a reminder of how fragile we are…and the importance of compassion for all. Even when/especially when it’s hard. Thanks for bringing that forward. Love and hugs right back to you, my friend! 🥰


      1. Thank you, Victoria. Anger used to be part of my expression (not in the way you described); but I’ve come to realize that it stems from fear. The woman might have been dealing with severe financial strains—who knows. But I do believe in what Gandhi shared, that treating “eye for eye” only makes the whole world blind.

        Love—is there any other answer? I have yet to find another.

        God bless you. I feel privileged to have met you through this avenue. 🙏🧡

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for that, Art — another terrific insight. You’re absolutely right — financial strain could’ve been part of the stress she carried. Great point…and I think the more I mull the whole situation over, the more I realize she was equally in pain…but perhaps harder to reach than the cashier who was her target. But that doesn’t make her burdens any less real, potent, painful. And…thank YOU for being a blogging friend. I feel the same – privileged to have me you, too! 😘😘😘


          1. I agree, Victoria, the woman had to be in pain. No one who is enjoying life reacts in such ways.
            My heart is so grateful to be coming into deeper understanding of life; because we can then be (even if only a little) part of the solution.


            Liked by 1 person

  2. You set the example we all need to follow, Vicki. Am I wrong in thinking that this publicly abusive behaviour is much worse than it used to be? Is it an outcome of frustration about the pandemic? General divisiveness in society. Certainly the signs up in so many places, from blood clinics to donut shops, reminding us that abusive behaviour to staff will not be tolerated, is New. So, so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your question, Jane – about more frequent occurrences. Maybe so, post-pandemic. My armchair theory is that so many people are lonely (maybe the lady at Walgreens, too) and frustrations bubble over…perhaps complicated by the absence of positive, affirming social interaction? I know my mother was a horrible person at times to cashiers, restaurant servers — especially when her loneliness and self-loathing were running high. Here’s to you, my friend, for your loving awareness combined with a zero-tolerance attitude for unnecessary nastiness. Grateful for you! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t love love love this post and your sweet compassion enough. I wish we could solve the hurts of the world so the Mrs. Nutballs (perfectly named) didn’t exist. But until we do, the care of people like you (and Phil) to heal the sores they leave behind is so incredibly lovely and needed! Beautiful and inspirational! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww…thank you, Wynne. I think my blogging friends are some of the most lovely, kind and compassionate folks, too. Bringing awareness to the fact that simple, everyday positive regard and snippets of love can go a long way to shoring up, as you put it so well, the sore bits. Thanks for that — much love! 💕💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh – thank you Julia. I’m sorry about the tears, but I understand. That’s right where I was. I did nothing heroic or special, but it seemed to be a moment that meant something to him. Afterward I kept thinking ‘be the change’ …even when (especially when?) I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing. Love and hugs to you! 🥰🥰🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A few years ago while shopping in Best Buy I/we watched a similar exchange between two awful customers and a hapless cashier. I wanted to strangle the customers, but I didn’t. When we got to the cashier she broke down in tears, while my husband and I assured her she’d done her best, that those people were not worth worrying over. Fortunately her store manager agreed with us.

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    1. Wow…yes…another example, so similar. And as Julia said, we don’t want to see these things at all, but I love what you did to assure her she did her best…and yes — an experience NOT worth holding on to. Thanks for sharing that, Ally. I bet you blogged about it and it’s one of the Ally Bean gems I’ve missed. xo! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a horrible, horrible person. Ugh. I know she was facing her own issues, you have to be to treat someone like that, but it’s hard to feel any sympathy for her. I’m with VJ, why do people feel the need to be so cruel. The thing I would want to ask the woman: what did her anger solve? How did it help? It didn’t. I’m glad the manager stepped in and got rid of her, but I wish he would’ve stood up for the worker. And yes, so kind of you Vicki, what a great example for the rest of us!!!! I’m sure he was so appreciative the rest of the day for your kindness and caring! Compassion, empathy, kindness …. Can’t get enough of those three! We need all three, at least I know I do! Thanks for the lift!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reading how that poor man was treated made me teary-eyed. I’m so so glad you got yourself next in line so you could comfort him and be kind to him. Thank you for that. I would have done the same. I also can’t help but wonder what sad life of abuse or a general lack of love made that angry woman so awful. Surely she has suffered a lack of kindness or good examples thereof from some challenging background. I don’t believe people are born that mean. Some terrible circumstances made her that way, and she would require even more love and compassion to help her overcome her trauma.

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    1. I’m with you, Betsy….somewhere along the way…. something happened to the poor lady. I didn’t include this in what I wrote, but she gave me a knowing look when we passed – as she left the store. I couldn’t tell if it was guilt, regret, shame…or pain. They all kind of tumble together, don’t they? xo to you for reading and for being a love. 🥰🥰🥰

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Sometimes those in greatest need are the hardest to reach–yes. I agree with that. They have to somehow realize it for themselves before they can accept help. It’s hard for people to admit when they’re wrong. It takes a great deal of humility.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Sadly Victoria, our world has many Mr. & Mrs. Nutballs who, most likely, somewhere along their life’s journey didn’t experience the love and acceptance from others and their Creator many of us have been blessed with and received.

    Your friend Phil’s compassionate, healing words exemplified a quote on a plaque that once hung over my fireplace . . . “Never answer an angry word with an angry word. It’s the second one that starts the argument.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for all of that, Fred. I agree with you…those that behave in such unkind ways? Carrying hurt themselves. And what a beautiful quote….and so true! That’s a keeper…going into my beloved (yet ever-so messy!) quote file. Truth right there! Thank you for stopping by and for your lovely comment. 😊


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