Wednesday 09 January 2013 – Last week during a visit to the local supermarket, I was standing at the till watching my shopping slide towards the cashier when an elderly lady popped a single item onto the conveyor belt. Being a gentleman, I of course asked if she wanted to go in front of me as I had several items. She thanked me and promptly popped herself one place further up the queue. As she waited her turn she began to tell me about some new cushions she was hoping to buy in the January sales.
She paid for her item, and as mine were being processed she continued to chat, this time asking if I’d had a nice Christmas. I told her it was agreeable and asked how hers had been. She told me she had spent it alone, since she had no children and her husband had passed away many years ago.
Hello World. Barry Lillie 2013
After I’d paid for my shopping I stood outside with the old lady and listened as she told me she spent her days alone inside her house, seeing no one. She only ever had the opportunity to meet other people when she did her shopping. We chatted for a few more minutes; what we talked about wasn’t important. What was important was that for about thirty-minutes I made a difference to someone’s otherwise lonely day.
Maybe we should all make an effort to stop and say hello to the elderly, maybe a friendly face may the only contact they’ll have for several days.
This encounter reminded me of the Bette Midler song, Hello in There.