A few months ago, my son was working at a local fast food place. While he has never been one to shy away from work, he had grown weary of working in a restaurant and longed for a change. Being stuck inside, standing over a fryer or leaning out a drive-thru window was wearing on him. One day, he walked into Brookshire’s after school to get a frozen pizza and a soda and the manager approached him. He talked to him about a job offer and my son jumped on the opportunity. The rest, as they say, is history.
For several months now, my sweet kiddo has been learning the ropes at our little hometown grocery store. He is a sacker. He did some night stocking over the summer. He works as a day stocker sometimes, too. And, from what I hear, he does all three jobs very well. The best thing about it all is that he loves his job. He has always said he’s not much of a “people person,” and while he does enjoy peace, solitude and alone time, in this position at work, he is most definitely a “people person.” He loves talking to people while sacking and carrying out groceries. He likes to have conversations with the little ones about school or their hobbies. But he loves the time spent with elderly folks best. Pushing a cart super slowly, holding the hand of an older lady using a cane or walker, carrying one small bag for an older guy whose back is sore and arms are weak is his greatest joy!
We have joked for years that if given the chance to choose between hanging out at the nursing home, listening to stories from the old people or going to a pep rally or church youth group event, Sam will always choose the old people. He is one of those kids that you would classify as an “old soul.” He loves history and war stories, he loves honoring veterans, and he loves the sweetness of the elder crowd who treats him like a southern gentleman and asks him questions about his life.
When he first took this job, I told him that I admired him for taking on a job that required so much time on his feet, spent running back and forth into and out of the building all day. During the hottest summer months, he came home drenched in sweat every day. The job is not only physically hard, it requires him to be out in the weather (whatever the weather might be) every day. But as I told him that I could appreciate his dedication to the job, he smiled and said it was the easiest job he’s ever had. He loves it. Physical work is right up his alley so these duties are “no big deal” to him.
I am encouraged every day by texts, emails and messages on Facebook from friends who have encountered him at work. It does a mama’s heart good to hear that people see him and enjoy his smile, his energy and his polite manners. When you question whether you’ve done well enough as a parent, hearing kudos from others is always a blessing! It’s when you find out that your teenager behaves and makes you proud even when you’re not there that makes you feel like a success.
So next time you’re picking up a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread in town, look for my kid. Give him a high five and tell him how proud he makes his mama.