Though Dad is newly mobile at the grocery store, I stick with him to help open the produce bags and reach for the fresh produce in the higher bins. “We don’t need cauliflower,” I mentioned. “We have two at home already. Same with spinach.” I left him at the butcher counter, free to exercise his whims, and tooled through the aisles, quickly crossing items of my list. Herbal tea. Chicken stock. Frozen peas. Strawberry jam. We met up at the check stand, where he told me that every time he stopped to look up at a shelf, another customer asked him, “Can I help you reach something?” or “Can I get something for you?” While I thought about how many shelves are still inaccessible to persons in wheelchairs, he thought about the kindness and goodness of most of humanity. Danny helped us bag our multitudinous groceries into the motley assortment of reusable sacks, and asked cheerfully, “Can I help you to your car?” Seeing how happy he was to help, though I did not need his help, I said, “Sure, Danny. Thank you very much.” He took my cart while Mom and Dad leaned heavily on theirs, and began loading the bags into the faithful Suburban. “You have a great day!” Danny cheered as he took off with our carts. In the car, we remarked on Danny’s cheerfulness and friendliness. He lived his life with a mental disability, but did not let it slow him down or darken his day. We discussed how this Smith’s grocery store welcomed disabled employees, and how they shined and flourished there, brightening our day and easing our effort, adding to the pleasant environment at the store. After I carried the reusable bags to the kitchen, Mom and I unloaded the groceries, and I noticed a new head of cauliflower and another carton of baby spinach. It seems that at the Baker house vegetables come in threes. Time to get cooking.
(Photo from Smith’s Facebook page, used pursuant to the Fair Use Doctrine.)