Just Be Kind
4 years ago I worked at a Nike store selling shoes to runners like myself.
Ok, truthfully, I mostly sold runners to trendy hipsters who had absolutely no intentions of running but looked fresh AF because of me.
The job was fun, the crew I worked with were legends, and in a way it was quite competitive in terms of sales (if you’ve worked in retail this makes sense).
This story my drag on a little, but I feel there is so much value it it. So please read on.
As I mentioned it’s somewhat competitive working for Nike - you want sell as much product as possible, make large sales & and sell multiple items, in reward you may get more shifts, a little bonus or maybe even the coveted public holiday shift.
It was a Friday night, I needed to make $250 to reach my ‘daily target’ and I had about 30 minutes until I clocked off. Game. On.
A young girl & her mum walked into the store and were hovering around the accessories stand for while & I simply did not want to be the one to help them choose the right cap with the Nike swoosh of the ideal size, colour and location. I just wanted to sell a pair of shoes and be out of there.
But I’d already greeted them and the young girl looked puffy in the eyes and the Mum looked incredibly exhausted, so assuming I could give them a little perk for their Friday night I joined them and started chatting about something unrelated and had a laugh about god knows what.
Finding out they were intently looking for a pair of black mid calf Nike skater socks for their son, I could have helped them for a few minutes, then politely told them the other shops that might have them. But I didn’t. For whatever reason I too really wanted to find these socks with them.
We didn’t have any of the floor so I spent time looking in 4 boxes out the back of the store for these $15 pair of socks.
After I went through each box I would pop my head back out, drop them a joke and remind them that I was still looking and not to go anywhere as I was sure I’d find them
If you ‘d seen me that night, you’d think I was ridiculous. Putting in as much effort for these ladies and the damned nowhere-to-be seen $15 feet warmers.
But there was something about the two that I felt I needed to help them. I wanted to find these socks as much as they did.
5 boxes, a mess out the back of the store, potentially 3 misses shoe sales, an a serious case of the sweats, behold the socks!
When I found them, the Mum started crying.
I didn’t really know what to do or say.
I was confused to say the lease.
But as the Mum, and now the daughter tearing up, the girl said that the socks were for her 14 year old younger brother who had been killed in a car accident the other day & he had been asking for these socks for the past year.
They were going to bury him in his favourite clothes, and these socks were part of the outfit.
Lost for words & almost in tears myself, all I knew what to do was give them both the biggest hug.
I didn’t know these people.
I didn’t know what was going on in their lives.
I could have assumed anything.
I could have ignored them both.
I could have ushered them to look elsewhere.
I could have said those socks were not trendy anymore and to purchase something else, made a quick sale, or made them feel even worse.
My point is we all have no idea what other people are going through. Absolutely no idea.
So whoever you see today, whichever room you enter, whatever eyes you make contact with, pease be kind.
It costs you absolutely nothing.