This isn’t my best human interaction ever, but it’s up there. It just happened about an hour ago.
I work at CVS as a cashier. CVS is known for its long receipts. There are many many jokes about the CVS receipts being so long. Most of the time when I hand the receipt to the customer, I say, “Here’s some wallpaper for you.” They usually just say, “Thanks” as they take it from me. It’s an important detail to know that CVS has long receipts. So, here is the story.
This father and son came into my checkout area, and I asked for a phone number to access the account like I always do. The father, aged maybe 60, gives me the number, and I type it in. The account belongs to a lady named Betty. I ask out loud, “Betty?” Both the man and his 30 something looking son both get somber looks on their faces.
I see something is wrong. I ask, “Do I have the right account?” The father says, “Yes, she just died about two months ago. We haven’t been to a CVS since my wife passed. You caught us off guard with her name.” The son added, “She’s in the cemetery about five miles up the road. She’s in a better place now.”
Mortified, I asked the father, “Do you want to have your name in the account instead of hers so that this doesn’t happen again?” He said, “No, it’s still too soon for that. Just keep it the way it is for now.”
So, I rung up his order, and the father put his credit card in the reader. Then, the payment goes through, and the receipt starts coming out. It’s an especially long receipt, and it keeps coming. The father says, “Oh look, another tree is going in the sawmill!” I replied, “Yes, but it’s in a better place now.”
The father and son both erupt into loud laughter. They both are haw hawing in unison. It was quite surreal. They stop laughing and I hand the father his receipt. He looked at me and his son and said, “Thanks.”
I rarely get such spontaneous laughter from my day to day interactions when I try to tell a joke. But, this one was so very nice coming from such a delicate discussion of his wife’s passing just moments before. It’s moments like these that I cherish and make me glad to be alive.