Getting Along Like A House On Fire

, , , , | Hopeless | April 29, 2016

(This story takes place shortly after the Bastrop County Complex Fires started up on Labor Day, 2011. At the time of the story, I’m working in the grocery department of the store when I see a woman getting off of the phone and starting to cry, fearing the worst I stop stocking and approach her.)

Me: “Is something wrong, ma’am?”

Customer: “Yes, I just heard that the fire took our house.”

Me: Oh, no. That’s not good. Were you able to save anything before they evacuated you?”

(At this point, the customer starts to list of different things they were able to save before sobbing again, realizing all of the stuff they couldn’t get.)

Me: “It’s okay, ma’am. I realize that it may seem bad, but you know one very important thing you were able to save.”

Customer: *through tears* “No?”

Me: “You were able to get yourself and your family, right?”

Customer: “Y- yes.”

Me: “Well, as long as you were able to take care of that, everything else will eventually get back together. While you might not be able to recover everything you left, you still have you, your family, and your memories, right?”

Customer: *stopping her crying* “Yes, I suppose I do.”

(As she stopped crying, I decided to forgo general policies and even public normal by hugging her when she started to cry again.)

Customer: “You are right. I do have the really important things and know that He’ll help us out in the end. Thank you…”

(She let me go and started to walk off, getting on her phone again. From what I heard as I left she was talking to her family and/or friends. Fast forward about a year or two later and I’m a cashier in the express lane when the customer I’m checking out gasps. As she does, I look up and realize it is the same woman and smile. Without warning, she hugs me again and starts to cry with her husband behind her, smiling.)

Customer: “Oh, you were right! Everything did work out. Insurance pulled through, and we’ve got a new place, and we were able to recover some of the things were forgot.”

(She started to explain about what happened after the affected areas were deemed safe to return to for salvaging purposes. Eventually, they handed me a local magazine that contained a story of the fire and showed where she was interviewed, pointing out where she mentioned me in it then tried to give me some cash. However, I refused it stating they should keep it, but, as they left, I noticed they still had the money on the counter with the husband shaking his head as I tried to follow them.)

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