Articles

Life lessons at the checkout counter

It took a second to realize I hadn’t heard him correctly. Really looking at him for the first time, I noticed he looked sad and tired. So there was no way his answer to my cashier small talk of “How are you?” had been “Fine.” “I’m so sorry — I don’t think I heard you correctly. How are you doing?” He replied, “My wife kicked me out last night, and I’m worried for my kids.” It was Nov. 22, around 7:15 a.m., and I was on my 14th shift as a cashier at Walmart.

The early-morning crowd is always a little different, I was learning — a hard-working group of nurses coming off the night shift, teachers on the way to school, cleaning crews picking up supplies, and sometimes someone having a really hard time. In fact, oftensomeone having a really hard time.

Half of the United States goes through a Walmart on a weekly basis, about three-quarters of the nation goes through each month, and the United States is filled with a lot of people who are having a hard time, so that makes sense. But most of the stories I hear in my Walmart life are beautiful ones, even when they are about hard, hard things. There is a strength and resilience that resonates loudest.Read the entire article on The Boston Globe