Crying At The Checkout Is Understandable

, , , , | Right | January 22, 2020

(This happens during a cold winter. I’m working the speedy checkout. The store is not too busy so it’s mostly just one customer at a time. My current customer is a mom with two very young children: one still a baby and the other no older than three. My job before this was at a community center watching over kids where, just like teachers, we can get in HUGE trouble for touching kids even if they initiate it and just want a hug, so I’m always extra careful around kids at any job just out of habit.)

Me: “All right, that’ll be [total] today.”

Customer: *frantically checking in her purse* “Oh, shoot! I left my wallet in the car.”

(She looks desperately at children and then towards exit, and I can see she’s thinking about how much of a hassle it will be to bundle up both the kids to go outside just to get her wallet to come back here and pay.)

Customer: “Can I leave them here with you for just one second?”

Me: *understanding but taken aback* “Uh, yeah, I guess—”

Customer: *runs off to quickly grab her wallet*

Me: “—if you trust a complete stranger to do that.”

Baby: *starts crying IMMEDIATELY after the mom is out of sight as her brother sits in the back staring at her*

Me: *hovers around the baby trying to get her to calm down* “Don’t worry, your mom will be right back. It’s going to be okay. I know, it’s really scary that she left, but she won’t be long.”

(My coworker at the other speedy check is looking back on me due to the loud wailing.)

Coworker: “Where’s their mother?!”

Me: *seeing security eyeing me, shouting to be heard* “She went to get her wallet! She should be back soon!”

Coworker: “I hope she does come back!”

Me: *suddenly panicked at not even having considered this*

(Fortunately, the mom did come back a minute later and her poor baby immediately calmed down, and I did not get any customers in my line during the time. Probably turned away due to the crying baby!)

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