An Emotional Open Letter to the Older Gentleman at the Maine Cable Store
Setting up a new house means having to also set up all of your modern "can't do-withouts." The electricity that you can’t do without, the heat that you can’t do-without, and most importantly the cable that you can’t do-without because honey, I cannot do without Clark Griswold on AMC.
That means, having to visit your local cable store. This occurred last week and I didn’t think much of it until now. As my wife and I walked into the building, we immediately noticed it was extremely busy, luckily we did have an appointment with a technician beforehand.
Pro-tip, always makes sure that you make an appointment before you go so that you’re not waiting for a very long time to be seen. Since it’s the holidays I am sure that was one of the reasons why they were so busy.
Things have changed a lot but I am still a part of a generation where you would walk into a business and a live human person would greet you and ask you what you need but now, you sometimes walk into that same building and instead of a human you are greeted with a computer screen, asking you to enter your information, name and why you are visiting, which will be sent all the way across the room to the technicians.
Once they receive your name from the computer far across the room, they will seat you.
An older gentleman was standing at said computer screen, obviously frustrated. He was not angry, he was confused and perplexed and frankly seemed sad. It looked as though he had been standing there struggling with this screen for quite a while and felt defeated. So immediately, Janelle and I walked up to him and asked if he needed any help. He immediately breathed a shaky sigh of relief and said, "Yes."
I walked him through the process and showed him how the screen worked. Our encounter was quick but intense. He said to me, while I was entering his name into the system that, he can't see well and his fingers don't work as well as they used to. He kept apologizing as if he could control the lack of strength in his eyes or fingers from the years of use. I felt so awful and wanted to do everything I can to make sure that the awful time he was having went smoother.
He then said to me something I will never forget, "My wife used to take care of all of this stuff before she died." My eyes immediately started to water and I was having a hard time seeing the screen myself at that point.
When you lose someone, there are tiny reminders of them everywhere you go. Especially during the holidays. So what may seem to be a normal trip to the cable store for many of us, is a different reminder to this kind man, who was only thinking about his wife and all of the things she would take care of for him.
Your gratefulness showed strongly in our 2-minute conversation. Our talk will be imprinted on my heart forever. Maybe, in a spiritual way, your wife was with you that day, and she guided us to help you. I am sure things are tough right now and I am glad we came, not for our cable box, but for you.
He was so thankful and had to contain himself before we departed.
Next time you run an errand or do anything, make sure you look around you and understand that so many people are having a tough time during the holidays because they are deeply missing someone.
Sometimes when I take the temperature of the world, it seems as though the whole vibe of things is if it doesn't directly affect you, it doesn’t affect you at all. So let's continue to keep all of our friends and neighbors who are unable to spend Christmas with their loved ones in our prayers this year.
You never know what you have, until it's gone.