Yesterday I made a quick dash to the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner. Of course I ended up buying more than I needed, thanks to my grumbling stomach. (Don’t they say never to shop when you’re hungry?) As I placed my items on the conveyor, I noticed that a teenaged boy with physical and mental challenges was waiting to bag my groceries with the help of a woman who stood next to him. Publix does a great job hiring people with special needs, but this was the first time I saw a bagger with a “helper.” I said a few encouraging words to him after I unloaded my cart, but he kept his chin firmly tucked into his chest and his gaze tightly fixed on each item as he slowly and diligently packed them up.
And then, it was as if someone had turned on a switch. As he picked up the eggs and put them in a bag he suddenly cried out “EWWW! This is GROSS!” His helper lady quickly whispered something to him, but it was too late. Who knows what it was about the eggs, but what followed was a loud, animated and seriously funny critique of each remaining item as he bagged them. Good thing he wasn’t coming to our house for dinner because he obviously really disliked everything I purchased. The poor lady with him was trying her level best to get him to stop but he was having way too much fun. It was hard not to giggle along with him as he graded every one of my choices.
As I left the aisle I noticed that the manager was on her way over. As harmless as the entire episode was, I’m sure she would not want it to continue for the duration of his shift. Poor kid, he had really come alive and though he wasn’t interacting with people, he was certainly responding to what he was seeing and touching, and he was reacting with joyful abandon.
Somewhere this boy’s parents were at home or at work wondering how his day was going. He probably had one heck of a story to tell when he was picked up…I sure hope he will have many more.