I came across an open letter to shoppers who consoled a woman who had an emotional breakdown in response to a call from her brother. The call informed her that her father had taken his own life early that morning.
The woman, Deborah Green, abandoned her full grocery cart in the entryway of Whole Foods. She started to scream and cry as her whole body trembled and she fell to the floor as her knees buckled. Strangers who were entering Whole Foods to do their grocery shopping could have simply stared at her as they passed her by but instead they surrounded her as she yelled through her sobs, “My father killed himself, he’s dead!”
Someone asked for Deborah’s phone and inquired as to who they should call, her password, and her husband’s name as they searched through her contacts. An urgent message was left for her husband to call her. The group of strangers discussed among themselves who should drive her home in her car and who would bring that person back to the store. None of these people knew Deborah but they worked together to help her in any way they could in what she calls, “The worst moment of my life.”
Deborah was able to say that she had a friend who worked at Whole Foods and one of the strangers brought the friend to her. As she sat with her friend, one of the kind strangers sent over a gift card to Whole Foods. This gift card fed her family when she couldn’t find the emotional strength to cook.
Deborah never saw the person or persons who reached out to her in the bleakest moment of her life but she says she will never forget them. It strikes me that in the moments after the phone call from her brother, a time when no one should be alone, Deborah was surrounded by selfless, caring individuals.
I found this story reassuring that all the hatred, strife, bitterness and anger that is going on in our country currently has not destroyed the compassion of those who were brought up to reach out to someone who is hurting whether it be family, friend or stranger.
Original story by Deborah Green from reflectingoutloud.net as published in Reader’s Digest, November 2106.