08 April 2012

A Little Goes A Long Way

This week has been a bit busy. My entire family has gathered from NJ & FL to join my daughter & I for Easter. The house is noisy, chaotic and full of people. In short- it's wonderful. Naturally, since I have company, I fell ill. Totally lame and kind of my own fault for not taking care of myself before I got seriously sick, but no big deal. I went to my trustworthy doctor, got a physical and a year's supply of various medicines for my sinuses.

I dropped my prescriptions off at our local Costco pharmacy without any fuss. The next day, between airport runs, I went back to pick up my meds. To my surprise, the cashier said my prescriptions had been flagged and said I needed to have a consult with the pharmacist before purchase. A little strange, but not a big deal. I went up to the consultation window, and a small, flustered woman in a white smock appeared on the other side of the counter. Nervously, she began to explain to me 2 of the prescriptions had an instant and fatal reaction when taken together. I listened carefully, since I was extremely stunned. I had recently taken the same 2 scripts together...and thought I was going to die. Turns out, it wasn't all in my head.

As the harried pharmacist finished explaining, she nervously gathered a pile of papers and offered me a print-out with all of the scientific facts. I thanked her heartily and asked a few questions. I bantered with her, and to my delight she began to smile. Then came the shocker. The pharmacist told me, "I'm really glad you are taking this news so well. I was very worried you would get upset and not be understanding." I laughed...until I realized she was serious. My response was quick, "Ma'am, you- literally- just saved my life. I would have taken those medications and my heart would have stopped. Then I would be dead. How in the world could I possibly yell at you? I should hug you." She smiled more broadly, "You are just SO CUTE!"

I've been called many things in my life, and "cute" is not one of them. I wasn't being cute. I was being honest and grateful. Surely this woman must be over-sensitive to people. Why would people yell at her? I thanked her again and stood in line to pay for my items. While waiting, my mom and I started people watching. We saw a number of people grumpily trudge by, shove other people's shopping carts and brow beat the staff over trivial matters.

In just a few short minutes, I realized the pharmacist was not at all over-sensitive. Summarily, people were just not kind. Over the last few days my mind has gone back to that incident over and over again. I am not always the happiest person around. I know for a fact I drift off into my own little world and start to scowl over my thoughts. Yet a little eye contact, a smile and a thank you goes a long way.

People should never feel like they are going to be berated. Especially someone who is trying to make lives better. How much effort does it really require to smile? If I honestly ask myself...the answer comes easily. I think we get to be in such a hurry (guilty!) and are so weighed down by our own issues/burdens we forget to reach out our hands to others (guilty again!). Kindness, or even simple courtesy are being lost in the din of our treadmill lives. I don't want that.

Because the pharmacist prevented my heart from imploding, I have decided to be nicer. It really shouldn't take such an incident. I am ashamed. But I'll come clean, and will try to be better. I can stop for that pain-in-the-rear-pedestrian that is not in the right of way. I can let a car in front of me in traffic. I can certainly say please and thank you to cashiers or random strangers. And I can certainly teach my daughter how to do these things as well. A little kindness truly does go a long way. As the saying goes, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

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