Yesterday I had three hours to kill in the Orlando airport terminal, which mostly meant dragging my suitcase, backpack and purse as I walked around the many stores there. I was also feeling shaky, having been thrown up and down too much in a turbulence-rocked plane full of little kids so excited about going to Disneyland that they couldn’t stop screaming. Few places interested me (most being chains selling overpriced versions of what I didn’t need or already had), but I was drawn to the small barette store.
I walked over the threshold, and immediately, a beautiful South American woman behind the counter, surely over 60 but ageless in her tailored suit adorned with an elegant shawl, greeted me. “Welcome, my darling,” she said, smiling. She exuded peace and joy. I smiled back, and headed to the hair-ties, finding a sparkly beaded one I could wear on dress-up night on the cruise. “You may try any on, my beautiful darling,” she told me. “You’re so nice,” I answered.
Within minutes, I was paying for the barettes, and asking her about her work there. “I have been here since 6 a.m., and I work three jobs,” she said.
“How many hours does that add up to?”
“110 hours a week? Do you support a bunch of people?”
“Yes, my lovely darling, but my husband is very sick and cannot work, and the medicine is so expensive. I feel very blessed though because I have been able to find these jobs. My life is full of blessing.” She spoke without any resentful, my voice bright with gratitude.
As I left, she called out, “Goodbye, my darling!” I replied, “You are the darling,” and walked away, thinking about how anyone who gives out so much love and tenderness to strangers like me, even and especially while working 15 or more hours each day, not only makes her own blessings but brings blessings to other.