It had already been night for several hours. After a long day, we had our normal rush of customers just as we were closing the store. A coworker who had been standing at the register for several hours became sick and began to sink to the floor. But a customer saw she was in distress and moved quickly to catch her.
He eased her to the ground, held her head in his lap, and asked for someone to call an ambulance. Then he spoke quietly to soothe the woman until help arrived.
We moved the remaining customers to other registers so the ambulance attendants could do their work. An older man came through my line and said to me, “The same thing happened to my wife earlier this year. She fell when she had a stroke and died right then.”
At that point, we were relieved to see my coworker revive a bit.
I turned back to the older gentleman. “I’m so sorry you lost your wife, sir.” I wondered if he might be emotionally triggered so I asked if he was okay.
“I’m fine,” he said, and then he pointed to the man holding my friend. “That’s my son.”
A million things went through me. I was worried about my coworker and also feeling this man’s grief as he remembered his loss. And that man who was taking care of my friend…. Was he also feeling the grief of losing his mother? Did he get a chance to hold his mother when she was ill? Or was this a chance to do what he wished he could have done for his mother? While my mind churned, I moved quickly to check out our final customers.
The ambulance came and took her to the hospital and the man who had held her came to my register to join his father.
“I think she’s going to be okay,” he said. (In fact, I have heard that she is feeling better now).
“Thank you for helping my friend, sir,” I said. “Well done.”
“It was God that helped me,” he said.
“Perhaps I should say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”
He smiled and blinked to hold back the tears in his eyes.