Love where you live!
LA MESA -- Saturday was Shop Small Saturday, an event sponsored by American Express to promote shopping at local small businesses. I love the concept, and it's nice to see neighbors walking past my Lifesighs Cards shop and stopping in to say hi. Some people buy things, some don't, but it is really a splendid day regardless of the bottom line. This year, my second Shop Small experience, was special, and all because of the bags American Express provided to small merchants like me.
Before I get to the part about the bags, I would like to point out that what happened with the bags relates to my late friend Father Naus's practice of seeing "Make me feel important" on the forehead of every person he encountered, a generous and thoughtful behavior I think is worthy of emulation. In fact, I thought it such a profoundly powerful practice, I wrote about it here on La Mesa Today a while back. Much to my dismay, my reference to his kindness towards everyone he saw became muddied by comments about seeing "sucker" or "loser" on people's foreheads instead.
I never dreamed my remarks about Father Naus would be followed up with the words losers or suckers. I wrote about his kindness because the concept itself took my breath away when I read about it in a letter describing his eulogy. I wrote about it because it made me think: "What a simple thing to do. Treat people with respect and honor just because they breathe."
Now to the bags...
As I looked out the window of my store on Shop Small Saturday, I saw a fellow struggling across the street. He had a beautiful guide dog with him. Apparently as they walked along the sidewalk, the young man got his plastic grocery bags caught on the thorny shrubbery and tore them. The contents began spilling onto the sidewalk, and he struggled to keep hold of the dog's harness while he attempted to pick up the goods. Since the bags had ripped on the bottom, his things kept falling through.
"My Shop Small bags!!" I thought to myself, I can cross the street and help him gather up his things and give him the sturdy cloth bags so he can get his purchases home safely. I grabbed a bag, ran across the street and together we put his purchases inside. When I noticed one bag was not enough, I came back to my store and grabbed another one for him. Everything neatly packed back up, he was happy, the dog wagged his tail, and off they walked toward home.
American Express provided the bags for my customers, but I think they'd agree a man and his dog deserved the same courtesy. Fr. Naus's beneficence, his active goodness provided nudge, the opportunity to act. For a few moments there I was helping a stranger, whose need was evident from across the street because I saw "Make me feel important" on his forehead. So it turns out Shop Small 2013 was a perfect day. And it had nothing to do with shopping.