Friday, November 22, 2013

Too Busy to Notice

Sometimes we come across a letter, a blog or an article
that just needs to be shared.

Suzanne Perkins Newman , founder of Answers For Elders  
wrote this compelling letter that I felt needed to be shared

My heart is hurting tonight
November 16, 2013 at 9:41pm
This afternoon after a glorious weekend with a dear friend, I headed to the grocery store to stock up for the following week ahead. 

As I went to the check out stand, there she was.  An elder woman, likely in her 80's.  She was stooped over, and caressing her grocery cart with the few groceries she obviously carefully selected.  Her clothes were well kept, even though they were not new.  Her balance was not steady, and as she attempted to unload her cart onto the conveyer belt, I reached out and lent her a hand. 

The grocery checker, a young woman, likely in her early 20's, was so busy not to notice her.  She just went on about her business, as the woman braced herself against the border of the checkout stand to sustain her stand.  Each step she took, was made with a lot of thought and deliberation, as to not fall.  Each action that was taken, took an eternity in the young checker's world, and thus, she appeared a bit annoyed at the old woman who stood before her presenting her wares.  

I stood behind only to watch this young checker have a complete disregard of an elder who had lived out her years and who was struggling to maintain her independence.  My mind wondered about her life, and I watched her reach into her old purse, grab a billfold likely from the 70's, and open up her check book. In addition she proudly presented three coupons, that obviously she deliberately had products in her cart to provide a 10% off coupon to reduce the amount, easing the pain of a fixed income she was likely on.  

As she presented them, the checker barely noticed her.  She said- "Those expired 2 days ago."  She went on about her business, charging the woman full price.. "That will be $89.00"  The young girl then just sloughed it off, moving directly on to me without a second thought, leaving the old woman alone to fend for herself to pay the bill and get herself, her groceries, and her unstable body out of the door.  

There was no call for assistance to help her.  
There was no special exception made to honor the coupon anyway.  (Was it REALLY that much trouble for a large national chain to extend a 10% discount on just three items for a senior?)
What would it have taken to for the checker to just pay attention.  To provide a smile, and do what she could to ease the burden the woman was carrying?

But most importantly, sadly I realized that it is simply a symptom of how the world has become.  A cold and careless disregard of those who are vulnerable.   My heart breaks for what this woman had to deal with today, and what really may be the reality is that she just might be used to being treated that way, that she doesn't give it another thought.

I walked out the door after checking out, and noticed staff standing by the door giving out free sushi roll samples, and yet they could not do one thing to help a woman who was vulnerable.  Somehow this store, and sadly the world has a very strange sense of priorities.  

I walked to my car and unloaded my groceries, and as I sat down, my mind flashed back to the days I took care of my mom.  I remember how hard it was, and just how unfairly she was treated by so many, and as my thoughts went to so many situations, I began to cry.  

The caregiver for the elders in my life is, and will forever be a part of me.  I came home and called the store manager, and even though he claimed he would address it, there was a part of me that only knew he was giving me lip service.  

Sadly the world is too busy to take notice.
The world will turn, we will continue to age, and more and more will be forgotten by society. 

As we go into the season of giving, sharing and caring
we often are to busy to notice .... 
It could be my Mother, Your Mother 
Just Human Kind .. Take Time to Notice

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