Recently in Laguna Beach [CA], Anne and I were shopping in a small family owned pharmacy, a 1950’s style store that largely exists only in old black and white TV shows like the “Andy Griffith Show.”
It has a few small aisles, a low ceiling, and a small bay window next to a narrow front door with a door knob and street parking in front of the store. At a glance, we saw the whole store, including the neighborly pharmacist who greeted us. It is he and his family who owns the store and takes pride in knowing their customers by name.
And there were no checkout stands with computerized equipment. There was just a front counter with a cash register and an older woman standing there ready to help us. As we set the items we wanted to buy on the counter, this friendly grandmother, a four-year employee rang them up.
Because it was a school holiday, she had her 8-year-old grandson along side of her. Wanting to help his grandmother, he carefully put our items in a bag. Then she handed him our change and with a smile, he gave it to us.
She thanked us and so did he. I smiled and asked him his name and he told me, and I asked his age (8), what grade he’s in (3rd grade) and the name of his elementary school and he told me.
Then he handed me the bag and Anne and I, amused by this cute little guy, thanked him again. “Do you think we should tip him,” I whispered to Anne. With a twinkle in her eye, she gave me a dollar bill, which I placed in his tiny right hand.
The little boy’s eyes opened wide as he stared at that dollar and an ear to ear grin came across his face. His grandmother beamed.
“You earned that dollar because you did such a good job helping these customers,” she said to him. “Wait until your mother hears about this. She’ll be so pleased.”
The proud little boy could hardly contain himself. And as we left that small pharmacy, we knew for him, this was an event he would always remember.
With the exception of his allowance, this was likely the first dollar he had ever earned and it made him feel good about himself.
As you look back on your nicest childhood memories, isn’t one of them the first money you ever earned? Perhaps you baby-sat, or you were someone’s helper, mowed a lawn or washed a car.
And all these years later, you recall receiving the money and hearing any words of appreciation. It was because someone felt gratitude for what you did and wanted you to feel good about yourself for doing it.
As an adult, you’ve probably repaid that kindness many times over for within your heart you know what it’s like to be that little boy standing next to his grandmother in that old-fashioned pharmacy.