A Lesson in Perspective

, , , , , | Hopeless | November 17, 2017

(I work part-time at a department store. I am in a bad mood about some trivial things when a very nice man comes up to the cash register to buy something. We are having a pleasant, even fun, conversation. After I learn that he is from a foreign country, I ask:)

Me: “Are you here [in Southern California], for business or pleasure?”

Customer: “Pleasure. I am here with my two little kids.”

Me: “Have you been to [Amusement Park #1]?”

Customer: “Yes, and to [Amusement Park #2], [Amusement Park #3]… All over.”

(Then he points to a surgery “bump” on his mostly bald head and says matter-of-factly:)

Customer: “I have a brain tumor, and I won’t be here much longer. I want to leave my kids with as many pleasant memories of me as possible.”

(I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to say, so I just continued in silence. Then, he went to buy something in another department, but before he left the store, he came out of his way to shake my hand and thank me. I felt ashamed of myself for being in a bad mood over such trivial things.)

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