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Going Beyond Bagels

, , , , , , | Right | August 3, 2022

I moved in with my grandpa for a few years after his first stroke to help take care of him. Luckily, he recovered quite a lot after it and didn’t truly need 100% around-the-clock care, but he wasn’t allowed to drive anymore or cook or operate the yard work equipment. I was there to help with that type of stuff.

There was this bagel shop that I would drive past every day on my way to work, and on Saturdays, stopping there for breakfast was my special treat. I literally stopped by almost every Saturday for the three years that I lived with my grandpa. It only took a couple of months before the staff — especially the manager — recognized me and knew my order. I always ordered the same coffee drink and would rotate through a few different bagel orders.

The Saturday I realized that I was such a regular was very busy as it was graduation weekend for the local college. I walked in and right as I joined the line, the manager addressed me.

Manager: “Hi, [My Name]. I’ll get that [regular drink order] started for you. We only have one of [a regular bagel order] left, but if you want to wait about ten minutes, the other ones you like will be cooled so we can cut them.”

Me: “Thanks for the heads-up.”

The experience truly cemented to me the impactfulness that being a kind regular someplace can have on your life.

My grandpa passed away. I moved out very shortly after his death because it was too hard being in that house alone. A handful of months passed. It was a Saturday, and I had been up at the house helping my family do the last deep clean of the place before it was listed on the market. On a whim, I decided to stop by my old bagel shop on my way home.

As I walked in the door, I could tell that all the staff had changed. I figured that since it had been a while, I wouldn’t be recognized. As I was approaching the counter, that same manager came up front.

Manager: “[My Name]! I haven’t seen you come by in a while. How are things? Do you still like your [regular drink order]?”

I was completely stunned that this almost stranger — but not really a stranger — remembered me, let alone still remembered my order months after not seeing them. After a rough emotional morning of cleaning out my grandpa’s house, the kindness of the situation hit me and I started tearing up a little.

I responded, trying to not totally start crying.

Me: “Yes.”

Manager: *Concern in their voice* “Do you still like [one of my bagel orders]?”

Me: “Yes.” *Deep breath* “I would like that, please.”

The manager made my order and then brought it over to me and sat down with me for a moment. We talked a bit about what had happened and why I hadn’t been around. That was the last time I saw them, but their kindness will always stay with me, and I hope they are doing well in life. That moment really taught me that you are never truly alone in the world. You make an impression on others’ lives just by going about your daily habits.

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