Who is Kenny? He’s someone I don’t know very well, but I will tell you that he makes me smile every time I see him.
You see, I am one of those rare grocery shoppers that makes a weekly meal plan, a corresponding grocery list and a weekly trek to the store (this usually occurs on a Saturday or Sunday). I want to get it done all in one trip and never go back (well, until the next weekend). I really hate grocery shopping – as much as I hate cleaning the bathrooms.
I described myself as a rare grocery shopper because I don’t usually see many others in the grocery store filling their carts to overflowing and then, watching their baggers navigate two carts across the parking lot. I feel like a rare breed. One time, a fellow shopper asked me if we were having a party and I said, “Nope. This is my normal weekly grocery trip.” She looked horrified (really, I’m not kidding). I wasn’t sure how to respond to that so I didn’t. We just waited in uncomfortable silence in the checkout line until my groceries were bagged and ready for transport.
So, you’re still saying, “Who’s Kenny? And, what does this have to do with food?” Kenny is my grocery bagger. Okay, he’s not really MY bagger, but the poor thing is usually the lucky duck that ends up bagging the seemingly endless stream of food that I buy.
I want to say that while bagging groceries isn’t rocket science, it’s still a science of sorts. Not everyone is good at it. You have to have good spatial skills. There are definitely great ones (fast, efficient use of bags, perfect food placement within the bags and smash-free bread & chips), good ones (somewhat fast and efficient, okay food placement within the bags and smash-free bread & chips) and bad ones (slow, wasteful with bags and smashes your bread & chips). When picking out my checkout lane, I’m not looking for the shortest lane, I’m looking for a good to great grocery bagger. Since I shop at this store every week, I know who’s who and what’s what.
Kenny makes the trip worthwhile. Besides being a fantastic bagger, he is always happy, always has a smile on his face and always has really nice things to say. For example, he often asks about my kids and when I tell him their ages, he always responds with, “Wow! You look too young to have kids in high school!” (Thank you, Kenny!)
Kenny is probably in his early 50s and I think has been working at my local O’Malia’s for about 25 years (give or take a few years). In making small talk out to the car, he will be the first to tell you that he was hit by a car when he was a toddler (2 or 3) and suffered a brain injury in that accident. He loves skiing with his aunt in Colorado because they have a great skiing program for the disabled. He also has a sister in Dallas whom he visits at least once a year (from what I have gathered). His sister has three or four kids and he LOVES them tremendously. He talks about them as if they were his own.
I really admire him – his outlook on life is wonderful despite the cards dealt to him and he seems to find the joy in the moment.
I strive to mimic his perspective and his ability to live in the now.
He always ends the visit with a “Thank you for shopping at O’Malias!”
I hope that Kenny’s coworkers see what I see and take away something positive after a Kenny-encounter. I know I do.