Go for it!

I have a happy place in the world and it’s called ALDI. There shoppers are encouraged to “shop differentli”.

I’ve never felt so welcome in a grocery store. For one who thinks, feels and lives differentli, the aspiration is reassuring.

And for a grocery chain that prides itself on efficiency, simplicity and differentli, there are surprising human touches.

At my neighborhood ALDI, I see the same workers week after week, year after year. When I go to pick up my weekly groceries, I enjoy seeing their familiar faces.

Admiration, then dream

More than that, I admire their sense of purpose.

I see them move with determination – and pace. They know what they’re doing; they know where they’re needed.

I watch as lines suddenly form – like something cerebral and scientific causes shoppers to coalesce at once behind the checkout lanes.

Soon the workers are whisking their walkies for backup. Shoppers are called to form new, open lines.

As I’m standing in line – assured that it will be quick – I get caught up in a recurring thought: It would be so cool to work at ALDI.

Dream, then action

Finally, this past week, I saw my momentary dream become reality – but through another.

I had checked out and, while bagging my groceries along the long counter at the back wall, a woman’s voice caught my attention.

She was in her late 40s/early 50s. Noticing a new cashier in training, she paused to ask the trainer:

“Are you hiring?”

He replied, “We’re always hiring!”

“But I wonder if I could ever be as quick as her,” she noted aloud.

“This is only her first day!” he countered. Nodding in the direction of the back wall, he said, “Over there, see the applications? Take one!”

Slowing in my bagging process and with my head still turned, I watched next as she accepted his challenge. Taking strides to the back wall, she reached up and peeled off an application.

Muttering to herself, she said, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe?!”

‘Go for it!’

That’s when I knew I must speak up – so inspired and touched was I by this woman’s courage, but more so, by her decisiveness and action.

There’s nothing like a middle-aged woman, no longer spent but willing to once again wrangle life by the horns.

“Go for it!” I shouted for her alone to hear, though of course more overheard.

She turned. “Hey, thanks! That’s so kind!”

I had just finished bagging and so wheeled my cart and made my exit beyond the sliding doors.

Opening the back gate of my car to place my bags, I heard a voice calling.

“Hey, were you the one who said, ‘Go for it!’

I said yes, I was.

She opened up about her story. She worked in a family business for 25 years. And then she did something else and was laid off. And now her husband was struggling in his work, and she’s just looking for a way to help with income – and play her part.

At that moment, I wished she could really see me. But you know what? I think she could see me.

Although I wanted to tell her my story – and assure her I’ve been there – I stopped short. I think I’m growing old enough to know now that people can know things about you without knowing. And listening is more important than telling.

So is saying, Go for it!

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