A Cashier Showed Us Extra Kindness, but Then She Thanked US!

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The warmth and graciousness experienced by my family at a Target checkout counter this past weekend still has me smiling. A cashier showed us what may seem to some as a simple kindness, but to us it was significant. Kindness is no longer something that I take for granted in today’s society.

My two sons had finally decided to spend some of their Christmas money, so we headed to Target and each of them picked out a video game. A Manager came over to assist our cashier as we checked out, and my youngest decided he wanted to talk to them. He is 9 years old, *Autistic (*not a bad word, see below), and very outgoing. He happily chatted away with the two ladies, excited about his new video game.

“You see that? That’s MY Super Mario Bros. 2 video game. I am buying it with MY own money! You wanna know how to play it? First you get some coins. And then you get some other coins. Basically it’s coins, coins, and more coins! And did I forget to mention COINS?” He really got on a roll and was having some fun joking with them.

The Manager grinned, obviously picking up on his joking. She responded, playing along, “Soooo, maybe the best thing about the game is the COINS, then?”

After we checked out she looked at me and said with a sincere smile, “Thank you for letting him talk to me! He’s a cutie!”

And just like that the scene went from heartwarming to tear-inducing, and I turned into a weepy Mom mess.

SHE said thank you. She treated my son with kindness that many would not, and then SHE thanked US for the privilege. She saw my son for the energetic, engaging, and extraordinary young man that he is.  Continue reading

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Flashback: Confessions of a Clearance Shopper

Author’s Note: Thought some lighter fare was in order since this blog isn’t going to be all-autism all the time. I chose to repost one of my favorites from the past. Back then I was writing under a different blogger identity. This was also written before that crazy couponing craze started, so think of it in that context. It was a simpler time.

After all that waiting and buildup, hard to believe it has come and gone already. The day we anticipated for so long, lay awake at night dreaming about, jumped out of bed eager to experience…  the glorious post-holiday clearance sale.

Let me begin by explaining to you that over the past few years I have become very compulsive about saving money. Clipping coupons is now one of my hobbies, and I have started developing some hoarding habits when items are on sale. I actually get worked up about it and even tremble a little bit when I debate how many to buy. I need enough to get me through until the next sale because God forbid I pay full price!!! And you would not believe the annoyance I feel when my $2.99 box of cereal goes on sale right after I bought it (even if I did use a coupon). So just take my word for it that I take my clearance shopping VERY SERIOUSLY. And there are some very good deals to be had after major holidays like Christmas and Easter.

Picture this… The morning after Easter I rush my two kids, age 3 and almost 2, through breakfast so that we could be the FIRST into Target when it opened at 8:00. Hurry, hurry! When we get there I am upset at myself that it is 7:59 and OH NO!!! Two people got in before me!!!! In my haste to get in the store I make the snap decision to use my stroller and let my three-year-old walk because it is quicker than carrying my youngest into the store and then getting a cart. This decision will quickly come back to haunt me. As we are running walking very quickly to the “Seasonal” section I can hear my oldest panting because he can’t keep up. Determined not to let him slow me down I pick him up (HEAVY!) in one arm and push the stroller with the other. Some employees, who have obviously seen my type before, chuckle at me and say “Don’t worry, there are only two people back there.” Aaaugh! TWO people! ALREADY!?! Over my shoulder I breathlessly respond to them, “But I am looking for something SPECIFIC!”

Finally we reach our destination and hurry, hurry through the aisles. It feels as frenzied as an egg hunt, people trying to find the best deals and snatch them up first. Of course everyone is being very polite, but the competitive undercurrent is still there. My heart is still pounding and my brain is racing because somehow it seems very very important that I get eggs at 1/2 off so I can save 50 CENTS for next year’s Easter baskets. Plus what I really want is the Thomas the Tank Engine Take-Along Easter set and I am getting increasingly agitated that I can’t find it. I rush through all the aisles repeatedly, like a hungry shark circling a boat. Thomas where ARE you??? All I can find is the very last Bob the Builder set and I grab it. Who cares if my boys are not crazy about Bob because it is a GOOD DEAL. In the meantime my toddler who is strapped into an umbrella stroller has discovered that his feet can touch the floor and he can scoot himself around, and in my “on a mission” distracted state I don’t notice that he has headed into the center aisle. My three-year-old decides to help and in an effort to rescue his baby brother accidentally knocks the stroller over and dumps him flat on his face. My kids are screaming, people are staring, and I am a terrible mother. But hey, I am saving money.

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