The thing that I most appreciate about our armed forces is that they have an honor code, a code of conduct by which they are to behave and live their lives. If you talk to a soldier for any length of time, you will know that he or she is a soldier just by their manner and conversation. One would almost think that because of all the bad and salacious news we get every day that being gracious is extinct and being kind is out of style.
This past weekend I was reminded about something my parents taught me early on.
I can still hear my mother saying to us “Always listen and respect persons older than you. They have already experienced what you have yet to experience. That is worthy of your respect. They have a lot of knowledge to share.”
I was at a CVS store this past weekend. There was an elderly lady there looking for a particular brand of candy that was advertised as being on sale. As I searched for some aspirin and a few Halloween decorations, I could hear her telling the cashier that she could not find it. I watched her go down one aisle and up the next in search of the candy.
I walked over to her and said, “Ma’am can I help you?”
She replied, “I’m looking for the Werther’s candy in a box. It’s advertised as $4.99.” She looked a little unhappy about not being able to find the candy.
I walked down the aisle paying closer attention to all of the boxed candy until finally I found it.
“Here it is!” I said, excited to have found it for her.
“Does it say it’s on sale?” she asked.
“No, ma’am, but they probably do that at the counter,” I replied.
She smiled and thanked me.
I proceeded to finish my shopping. As I approached the counter, I heard her say, “Cher Best … and then spell it, C-H-E-R.” I walked up just as she was finishing.
“Aren’t you Cher Best?” she asked.
“Yes ma’am,” I said, a bit surprised that she listens to me on the radio station. She had to have been in her 70s.
Then she said, “I recognized you earlier when you were helping me. I read your columns in the paper, you do good work and you’re a nice girl.”
“Thank you,” I said.
After she gathered her items to leave the store she turned back to me, and held out her hand to shake mine. I smiled and shook her hand. “Have a nice day, Cher,” she said. “You too ma’am,” I replied.
As I watched her leave the store I was touched by her thoughtful words and reminded that being kind is behavior that transcends everything. Clothes may change, music may change, and even candy prices may change, but shared kindness and respect takes so little effort and has such an incredible return. I hope that never changes.