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    Gift Carded And Dearly Departed

    | Tacoma, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Health & Body, Top

    (I am working as an assistant manager at a retail store. A customer comes in while it is slow, so I am able to pay a lot of attention to her, and find her exactly what she wants.)

    Customer: “Is it okay to pay by gift card?”

    Me: “Of course.”

    (I start ringing her in.)

    Customer: “I hate to use it though.”

    Me: “Oh really? Why is that?”

    Customer: “My mom gave it to me for my last birthday, and she passed away two months ago.”

    (I pause for a moment to make eye contact with her.)

    Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that. I lost my own mom a little over a year ago, so I know what you’re going through.”

    Customer: “Oh! I guess you do understand then. Does it get easier?”

    Me: “No. I still miss her horribly, and still want to pick up the phone and call her every single day. But I suppose I’m not as raw as I was. You’ll get to that point too, though you’ll always miss her.”

    Customer: “Yeah…”

    (I finish ringing her up, and swipe her gift card, which pays for everything. Afterwards, I bring her bag around the counter for her, and hand it to her.)

    Customer: “Can I… can I make a really strange request?”

    Me: “Sure.”

    Customer: “Can I keep the gift card?”

    Me: “Oh, of course you can!”

    (I hand it to her. She puts it back in the envelope that bears her name, and caresses it. I can see she’s on the verge of tears.)

    Me: “Right before my mom died, she gave me the package she never sent me for my birthday, which had some Avon perfume in it. I like the perfume, but I hardly ever use it, because I don’t want to have to throw away one of the last things she ever gave me.”

    Customer: “Oh, so you completely understand why I want to keep this!”

    Me: *eyes filling with tears* “Oh yes, ma’am, completely!”

    (We wind up chatting for close to 45 minutes, sharing stories about our moms. By the end of it, we’re both crying openly, but they’re good tears.)

    Customer: “I’ve taken up so much of your time; I’m sorry.”

    Me: “No, don’t apologize. I’m so glad you came in, and that you were willing to share with me!”

    Customer: “Can I… can I hug you?”

    Me: “Of course you can!”

    (We hug for a long time, with both of us still crying. She thanks me profusely, and vows to come back and ask for me especially. I never did see her again, as I quit not long after that, but it was a wonderful experience. I hope wherever she is, her grief has become less raw than it was when I saw her. I’ll always, always remember her as being one of the best customers I ever had.)