An employee from the bookstore shares on Facebook their unexpected encounter with an elderly patron at the checkout register.

A bookstore employee recently penned a viral Facebook post recounting an encounter with an elderly customer that left everyone at the register astonished. Take a look at the post below to find out why it gained so much attention.

Written by Christine Turel
I’m employed at a reasonably sized independent bookstore in the area, and for the most part, it’s a fantastic job. A majority of our customers are interesting individuals. Well, one day, during the middle of my shift, this charmingly eccentric elderly woman approached. She expresses her deep affection for the store and her desire to linger longer, but mentions that her husband is waiting in the car. Suddenly, she exclaims, “Oh, I should get him some chocolate!” She proceeds to place a collection of art supplies on the counter. Then, she pauses and compliments my bangs, likening them to the beauty of the ocean, accompanied by a wave-like hand gesture and a cheerful “Wooooosh.”
Alright, I thought to myself. Delightfully cheerful and quirky elderly ladies like her are the customers I enjoy the most. They find joy in everything and embrace their eccentricity. I knew I was in for an enjoyable interaction. We engage in a pleasant conversation, and everything is going smoothly. Then, a young student, who had been at my counter before to collect his schoolbooks (as we’re connected to a major city university and often serve hurried students), lines up behind her. She suddenly turns to him and, without warning, insists that he places his textbooks on the counter. He looks puzzled, but she clarifies her intention to purchase his textbooks for him. His face turns pale with surprise. He firmly declines, vehemently asserting that it’s not possible, given that the textbooks amount to around $400. In a remarkable display of audacity, this petite elderly lady takes the textbooks from his grasp, places them forcefully on the counter, and fixes me with a determined gaze, instructing me to add them to her tab. At this moment, the young man is on the verge of tears, experiencing a mix of bewilderment, astonishment, and gratitude. Afterward, she faces the young man and remarks, “You need some chocolate.” She proceeds to scoop up handfuls of chocolates and adds them to her growing collection. He keeps questioning her, “Why are you doing this?” She replies with a simple, “Do you enjoy Harry Potter?” and tosses a copy of the new Cursed Child onto the stack. Eventually, she finishes her selections, and I tally up an astonishing bill. She pays it and kindly requests that I provide the young man with a few bags for his belongings. As I’m packaging her items, the young man embraces her in a heartfelt hug.

Both of us are expressing our admiration for her and commending the incredible deed she just performed. Then, she looks at both of us and shares one of the most profound and spontaneous statements I’ve ever heard:

“It’s crucial to be kind. You can’t always know the countless times you’ve inadvertently caused hurt, even in small but meaningful ways. Cruelty can unintentionally sneak in. There’s little you can do about that. However, you do have the power to choose kindness. Choose kindness.”

The young man expresses his gratitude once more before departing. I take the opportunity to reiterate how truly remarkable she is. She gazes out the door after him and confides in me, saying, “My son is a homeless meth addict. I don’t understand where I went wrong. When I look at that boy, I see the man my son could have become if someone had chosen to show him kindness at just the right moment.”

I’ve completed bagging her items, and at this point, I’m feeling quite awkward, unsure of what to say. Then, she turns towards me and comments, “I wish I could have bangs like yours, but my hair is just too curly.” With that, she leaves. And that’s the story of the most exceptional customer I’ve ever encountered. Let it serve as a reminder to be kind to someone today.

You can’t predict how your actions might impact those nearby, so it’s a good idea to treat everyone with kindness.

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