Hannah Easterson first published her story on her personal blog. It was then distributed by various websites including the Love What Matters Facebook page where it currently has over 108k likes and 78k shares.
We are very pleased that Hannah recently gave us permission to republish her beautiful story.
By Hannah Easterson, University Book Store Mill Creek.
I work in a decent sized, local, indie bookstore. It’s a great job 99% of the time and a lot of our customers are pretty neat people.
Any how, middle of the day this little old lady came up. She’s lovably kooky. She effuses how much she loves the store and how she wishes she could spend more time in it but her husband is waiting in the car, “OH! I BETTER BUY HIM SOME CHOCOLATE!”
She pileed a bunch of art supplies on the counter and then stopped and told me how my bangs are beautiful and remind her of the ocean, 'wooooosh' she said, making a wave gesture with her hand.
Ok. I thought to myself. Awesomely happy, weird little old ladies are my favorite kind of customer. They’re thrilled about everything and they’re comfortably bananas. I can have a good time with this one. So we chat and it’s nice.
Then this kid, who’s been up to my counter a few times to gather his school textbooks, came up in line behind her (we’re connected to a major university in the city so we have a lot of harried students pass through).
She turned around to him and, out of nowhere, demanded that he put his textbooks on the counter. He was confused but she explained that she’s going to buy his textbooks.
He went sheetrock white. He refused and adamantly insisted that she can’t do that. It was like, $400 worth of textbooks. She, this tiny old woman, boldly took them out of his hands, threw them on the counter and turned to me with an intense stare and told me to put them on her bill.
The kid at this point was practically in tears. He was confused and shocked and grateful. Then she turned to him and said, “You need chocolate.” She started grabbing handfuls of chocolates and putting them in her pile.
He kept asking her, “Why are you doing this?” She responded, “Do you like Harry Potter?” and threw a copy of the new "Cursed Child" on the pile too.
Finally she was finished and I rang her up for a crazy amount of money. She paid and asked me to please give the kid a few bags for his stuff. While I’m bagging up her merchandise the kid hugged her. We both told her how amazing she is and what an awesome thing she’s done.
She turned to both of us and said probably one of the most profound, unscripted things I’ve ever had someone say, “It’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, significant ways. It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind. Be kind.”
The kid thanked her again and left. I told her again how awesome she is. She stared out the door after him and said to me, “My son is a homeless meth addict. I don’t know what I did. I see that boy and I see the man my son could have been if someone had chosen to be kind to him at just the right time.”
I bagged up all her stuff and at this point was feeling super awkward and think I should say something but I don’t know what. Then she turned to me and said, “I wish I could have bangs like that but my darn hair is just too curly.” And left.
And that is the story of the best customer I’ve ever had.
Be kind to somebody today.