Who are the people in your neighborhood?

community connections kindness Oct 25, 2022


Last Thursday at 9pm my house phone rang.


We never use our house phone anymore, but it’s part of the cable and wifi package, so we have to keep it. I don’t even know how to retrieve the messages that people leave, something I keep meaning to look into but never do. Anyhow, the caller ID voice told us that “Walgreens” was calling which was not unusual at all. My husband takes so many different medications that almost everyday something else needs to be refilled or is ready for pickup.

I never answer because I make the trip into the store at least 3-4 times a week. Whatever the reason for the call I would soon find out at my next visit.


Something that night made me pick up the receiver.


I assumed I would hear the prerecorded voice letting me know my prescription was ready, but instead I was greeted by a real person addressing me as “Miss Debbie”. Miss Debbie? Only one person I knew referred to me by that name and she no longer worked in my Walgreens location. Several months earlier she had transferred to another location in order to take a better position.


I was absolutely crushed when I heard the news over the summer. This wonderful girl (she’s in her early thirties but a girl to me) made each and every visit to the pharmacy extremely pleasant. She always greeted me by name and with a big smile. We would chat about various things going on in our lives while she gathered all of my prescriptions that were ready for pick up.


She never needed to ask me my name or that of my family members because she knew us.


She even knew all four of our birth dates and that my dog’s name is Yogi. I can’t remember ever walking in there and not being greeted with a smile. If she were upset or in a bad mood, you would never know it. She had a smile for each and every customer.

Pharmacists had come and gone, but my pharmacy technician friend was always there. In the last couple of years prior to her departure, there had also been two very kind and dedicated pharmacists who had really helped us with many of Gary’s (my husband's) medicine-related issues. They had both left at the same time, one as the technician. One was moving on to another employer, while the other was transferring for a better position at the same store as my smiling friend.

I knew the voice I heard on the other end of the line was none other than my favorite pharmacy technician. I was so excited to chat with her and hear all about her new position and tell her how I desperately missed seeing and talking to her on a regular basis. She wished Gary and I a happy birthday since our birthdays are only a few weeks apart and of course, she still remembered those dates. She then told me there was someone else who wanted to say hello and she gave the phone to the pharmacist. I was waiting for him to tell me the reason for the call but the reason soon became apparent.


The reason for the call was just to say hello and see how my family and I were doing.


They had been thinking about us, just as I often thought of them, but unlike me, they had done something about it. They had picked up the phone and called. I was absolutely blown away by their caring and kindness.


Week after week, we often see the same people in and around our neighborhood. It might be people who work at the stores that we regularly frequent like the supermarket, drugstore or dry cleaners. Or it might be other customers, volunteers or parishioners whose schedule regularly coincides with our own. So often, we’re in a rush, and either don’t take the time to actually “see” the person, or we don’t make the effort to be friendly by smiling or saying hello.


Consider how you feel after you have a pleasant chat with a stranger or discuss the weather with a familiar store employee. I don’t know about you, but I usually walk out smiling and feeling happier after making that connection.


Think of how good you feel if you’re the one making the effort. You feel even better. It’s a win-win. These small daily wins will elevate our moods, days and lives. They quickly add up.


The next time you’re out running errands, try playing a game with yourself. Instead of possibly viewing it as a chore, create a goal to chat and smile at a certain number of people during your travels. Once you’re done, pause to reflect on how you feel. Do you notice a difference? Has your mood changed? Are you feeling better about yourself and your day?


I believe it was Bob from Sesame Street who asked the musical question, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” It’s about time we all learned the answer to that question.


Until next time,

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