Looking After Those Who Look Over  

, , , | Hopeless | December 6, 2019

(I’ve had possibly the worst six months of my life, but recently everything is finally looking up. This week, I paid off a hefty loan and flew my sister from another state for brain surgery, completely out of my own pocket as my mother is extremely poor. A regular of mine comes in while I’m working and starts chatting away. My phone buzzes in the drawer next to me.)

Me: “I’m sorry, that’s the hospital calling again. My partner is there, though; I’m sure everything is fine.”

Customer: “Oh, doesn’t he work nights? He should be asleep! And why are you here? You should be there.”

Me: “Well, I wasn’t going to let a three-year-old go blind because she couldn’t get treatment, and medical bills are expensive. You know what [Customer’s Husband]’s bills are like. [My Partner] and I have been switching staying with her, so we can both work and she’ll have someone to wake up to.”

Customer: “Oh… you did all that for her? You’re not getting anything back, either, are you?”

Me: “Family isn’t expendable; money is. We both work. We’ll be fine. I just want her to open her eyes.”

Customer: “That’s so kind of you.”

Me: “It’s not; it’s human decency. How’s your husband doing? And the kids?”

(We continue talking through the hefty transaction, and as I hand her receipt to her, she takes my hand and pushes paper into my palm.)

Customer: “You look after me, and everyone else it seems. Make sure you’re okay, too. Put that in your pocket and don’t lose it.”

(I thanked her and continued my shift. When I got to finally see what it was, I realised she’d handed me cash. I unashamedly cried. The next day, my sister opened her eyes to see — for the first time — a teddy bear the size of her, which is now the customer’s namesake.)

 

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