Proud To Assist

| Allentown, PA, USA | Hopeless | October 19, 2016

(I do not work in a store that has anything to do with computers, although we are friendly neighbors with a very large-name computer store. One morning, an elderly gentleman with a thick Middle Eastern accent enters my store carrying a tablet computer. After a few pleasantries, he asks:)

Customer: “You know anything about computers?”

Me: “A little.”

Customer: “Maybe you help?”

(We spend the next several minutes trying to resolve his email issue, but as my store does not have Wi-Fi, there isn’t much I can do. He tells me he tried going to the computer store but was told he needed an appointment, and he hasn’t been able to get anyone else to help. He even tells me that his grown children make fun of him for not being able to grasp computers perfectly, even though he has four college degrees.)

Customer: *reads my name from my nametag* “[My Name], you are only one who is nice to me.”

Me: “I can’t really help; I wish I could! If you go over to [Bookstore], they do have Internet and someone there can help.”

Customer: “But they not nice.”

Me: “Oh, they’re very nice!”

Customer: “Not like you!”

Me: *laughs* “Well, nobody’s like me.”

Customer: *also laughs* “Truest thing I hear all day.”

(He shops a bit and we talk about my store’s products. As we chat, I realize that, apart from his accent, he reminds me a lot of my deceased grandfather, whom I miss terribly; I had just been thinking of him the day previous, and crying because I felt like I hadn’t done anything since his death to make him proud. I call the bookstore and speak with someone in their customer service department who is a regular at my store. Once I explain the situation, she agrees to help, and I write down information for him.)

Me: “Okay, sir, you’re going to go out of my store and turn left, and follow the sidewalk, it will lead you to the door of our mall’s bookstore. Go to the customer service desk and ask for [Name]; she’s going to help you get into your email on their Wi-Fi.”

Customer: “I wish you could come and help me.”

Me: “I wish I could, too, but I’m the only one here. But she’s very nice; she shops here a lot. Come back and visit us sometime, okay?”

(He agrees and picks up his equipment and starts to leave. Halfway out the door, however, he stops and looks back at me.)

Customer: “I’m proud of you, [My Name].”

(It took me a few seconds to remember what I had felt with regards to my grandfather. Once I made the connection, I went in the back room and cried. Just to make the story a little more surreal, the gentleman has never returned to our store since.)

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