Shopping can certainly feel like more of a chore than leisure activity, especially when waiting in line for an excruciatingly long period of time. Such was the plight experienced by Indianapolis’ Sarah Owen Bigler while doing business at a local Target after a long day.
But this story has a happy ending, and Bigler’s recounting of it on Facebook went viral in short order.
“Yesterday Matt was sick,” Bigler recently explained on the social networking site. “I picked up Archie from the sitter and Eloise from school and decided to run to Target for a few things. I had hoped to be in and out quickly. I found a line with just one person ahead of me and began organizing my items on the conveyor. After placing my items, I look up to see that the person ahead of me was an elderly woman.
“She was paying for her items with change and wanted to purchase each separately. Part of me, the part that had a long day at work, the part of me who had a 1 1/2 year old having a melt down in the cart, the part that had set an unnecessary timeline for Target and getting home, was frustrated with this woman and the inconvenience she had placed on me.”
One can certainly sympathize with the initial reaction. Who wouldn’t be a bit perturbed by someone taking more than his or her fair share of time in line? In a world where people have places to be and things to do, we justifiably expect others to respect our time—even when others are elderly.
Bigler, however, soon had a realization—thanks in large part to the Target employee who was working with the older woman.
“BUT then I watched the young employee with this woman,” Bigler continued on Facebook. “I watched him help her count her change, ever so tenderly taking it from her shaking hands. I listened to him repeatedly saying ‘yes, mam’ to her. When she asked if she had enough to buy a reusable bag, he told her she did and went two lines over to get one for her and then repackaged her items. Never once did this employee huff, gruff, or roll his eyes. He was nothing but patient and kind.”
Bigler’s dauther, Eloise, seemed to be taking notice, as well.
“As I was watching him, I saw that Eloise was too. She was standing next to the woman, watching the employee count the change. I realized I hadn’t been inconvenienced at all. That my daughter was instead witnessing kindness and patience and being taught this valuable lesson by a complete stranger; furthermore, I realized that I too needed a refresher on this lesson.”
The employee-of-the-year in question is cashier extraordinaire Ishmael Gilbert. And Bigler’s message about Gilbert has apparently resonated with many across the internet.
“My Facebook page doesn’t do it justice,” Bigler told FOX 59. “Had I known it was going to go viral, I would have tried to give it more justice.”
In addition to reaching many who needed an inspirational story, the post also caught Gilbert’s attention.
“I was at home on the couch asleep, and my girlfriend called me: ‘Check Facebook, Check Facebook!'” he said after receiving messages of praise from people around the country. “It came from having at least 200 shares, and I’ve seen 500 shares and next thing you know, it’s a thousand… thousands and thousands of shares. It’s been amazing.”
And while some understandably believe that Gilbert when above and beyond the call of duty, he doesn’t see it that way.
“I treat everyone with the same respect,” he explained. “And I get it back in return.”
In her Facebook post, Bigler continued by noting that Gilbert thanked her for being patient. She responded by thanking him for the example he was setting for others—and then she let the store manager know about his good deed.
“If you are ever in the Glendale Target, give Ishmael a smile and a nod,” Bigler concluded. “The world could use more people like him.”