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"Thank you for shopping at Wingmans" by Kellie Scott-Reed

Thank you for shopping at Wingmans

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Date of Service: 9/20/21


It’s not every day that one life is changed in the express line at a grocery store. On Sunday, I staggered into the 7 items or less, filled with dread as I was over by two items (I don’t count individual rolls of toilet paper as separate items as they usually come in packs of 12 or more and that is considered one item. It feels a little nitpicky if you ask me) and I expected to be admonished by the cashier as it was a busy day for the store. Sundays are packed with those last minute shoppers of beer, soda, Tostitos and salsa; each shopper adorned in their ‘team’s’ jerseys. Bills, NY Giants, an occasional oddball Dolphins fan will make friendly banter about ass kicking and the like. I was feeling rather left out as I hate football and all it entails. I am a 51-year-old woman. I have three kids, mostly grown; at least physically. I have a marriage of 27 years, hence the toilet paper. He goes through a lot of toilet paper. I don’t find pleasure in the banal, group think of the stadium dwellers. No, I would rather read a book, listen to a podcast or take a walk. Another type of follower, but I digress.

It was as I put my last item on the conveyor that I noticed the name tag. Conner

I find the name rather, I don’t know; generic. But not the type of generic that will lead a nation, know what I mean? His blue eyes peered at me from underneath a copper fringe. They were nice eyes. He wore his mask over his nose, so I don’t think I could pick him out in a lineup. Covid times, Jesus Christ already! Anyway, he asked if I had found everything I needed okay. I was like “And THEN some!” my standard joke that shows my satisfaction at Wingman’s selection as well as an approachability that may be a little off-putting.

So here is the thing; I CANNOT stand silence. Not even if it is a twenty-second monetary exchange for goods at a grocery store. I asked Conner “So, where do you go to school?”

He told me and indicated he is a junior. Which naturally led me into the college search question; now that we assume that every Tom, Dick and Conner must be looking at spending their life paying off a useless degree. He kindly divulged that he is going to go into forensic sciences. My ears perked up. WE have something in common! I clung to this and ran with it, not dissimilar to the running back who snatches the ball out of midair, and runs to the goal, unhindered.

“I wanted to be a forensic scientist or a detective when I was young. It was my dream. I did try the police department, but I couldn’t handle the stress. Why don’t they just let detectives go in as such? It is a completely different set of skills needed for detective work. It was very disheartening. I wound up just doing customer service and being a true crime junkie.”

Conner looked up with those bright, hopeful blue eyes and said,

“Well, it’s never too late.”

I was gobsmacked. In all my life, I had never had something brought into focus so immediately. He was right. Conner was right.

So this comment card is just to let you know that angels come in the most unexpected places. Thanks to your wonderful cashier, I have quit my job, left my husband, and enrolled in the forensic science program at a college in Albuquerque. Dorm living has been a hoot! Were my roommate and her family surprised when they met me!

Anyway, thank you for hiring such a wise young man. Oh, and p.s. the reorganization of the store has been a real hassle. I don’t know where the heck to find the dish soap anymore! Why isn’t it in with the other cleaning products?

Yours Truly, Barbara


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