Driving home from the mall today, I experienced a partial city power outage here in Farmington. There is always something to learn from this type of experience, so I thought I would share.
As I exited the freeway from a shopping trip I noticed that the street light in front of me was not working. I carefully looked before entering the intersection and continued to another light that wasn’t working either. It was then that I called 911, however, they said they were already aware of the situation. I continued driving to Smith’s grocery store and parked my car. I walked into a store with only backup lights on. I could see that a few registers were still open, but that most were not so I decided to get the two items I needed.
I gathered my package of strawberries from the produce section and then headed to the deli. It was then that all of the lights went out. It was completely dark except for the flashlight that the deli girl had. She calmly asked what I needed and I thought she was kidding. I told her what I wanted, she identified my item with the flashlight and handed me my precooked barbecue-flavored rotisserie chicken. I thanked her and headed in the darkness to the front of the store feeling somewhat vulnerable, hand outstretched. Seeing an elderly woman with a grocery cart put me at ease and we headed to the front of the store. The lights flickered and the backup lights returned. As I reached the checkout line the few of us shoppers began to talk speculating what had happened and how long we would need to wait. Most pleasantly talked, but a few were anxious to move through. However, the registers were not coming on yet.
Knowing my 5-year old daughter was going to be out of school in a few minutes, I decided to go to the service desk and try to pay with cash. Seeing only two dollars in my wallet was not good. I asked if I could pay for just the strawberries. The employee said her register was not working so she couldn’t take my money. She then said that I could pay for my items on my next shopping trip. I stared at her incredulously and asked if I could at least give her the two dollars. She said she had seen me in the store before and knew I was a regular shopper. That surprised me because I couldn’t remember her name. I tried again to give her the two dollars, but she said that it was not a problem. Still dumbfounded, I thanked her and headed to the door with the strawberries and chicken. You know I will be back at Smith’s to shop!
Upon arriving at my daughter’s school I entered a dark foyer with limited light coming in from a few windows. Everyone seemed calm about the power outage. I walked down the dark hallway to her classroom, and peered into the room where her Kindergarten teacher was talking calmly to the children on the “carpet.” Later my daughter said that when the lights went out her teacher read books to them near the windows. I am grateful for good teachers!
For me the lesson learned is that there are still good people in this world doing good things. These acts of kindness are what make the world a better place. May you each be able to calmly handle emergency situations and do it with kindness.