Helpers are rare as we journey through life. Are you one?

Helpers are rare as we journey through life. Are you one?

“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Call me cynical, but the older I get the more I understand (through experience) that few of the individuals we’ll encounter during our lifetime are helpers.

For many of us, the word “helpers” triggers visions of those donating their time to homeless shelters or even nursing homes. But it’s important to remember that helpers come in many shapes and sizes. Here’s an example.

Today, I had to return a few items I recently purchased at a local home improvement store.

When I approached the returns desk, I immediately noticed that a woman who appeared to be in her 50s was manning the register and was obviously a novice employee at the store.

For starters, she had a more senior level co-worker hovering around her space to provide in-store training. But I assure you that “training” was not this person’s strong suit as she barked out commands with little explanation, while exhibiting an overall lack of patience for the new employee who was obviously and understandably nervous.

As I approached, the senior employee left for a cigarette break, leaving the novice employee on her own to handle my return. Recognizing and sympathizing with her struggle, I made it a point of being nicer than usual to her – offering a smile rather than discontentment.

She returned my first in-store purchase with no issues. But my next item was an online purchase which completely left her dumbfounded as a line of customers started backing up behind me and her trainer was nowhere to be found.

Again, recognizing her anxiety, I offered to step aside so she could deal with the other customers until she could find someone to help out with my online return – all the while extending a supportive smile to this total stranger, even joking a little here and there.

She finally was able to figure out everything she needed to, and I was on my way. I thought about how different that situation would have been (for both of us) if I had been belligerent over her inexperience and the inconvenience to my schedule.

That belligerence would only have increased her anxiety, slowing down her ability to find a solution, and then carrying that negative experience throughout the rest of her day. Instead, we both walked away a little happier all because I chose to be a helper that day.

The story above might seem trite to some, but what it illustrates so well is how a simple compassionate act can render you a helper in life. And couldn’t we all use a little help every now and then? I know I could.

Germany Kent once said, “Be nice to people… maybe it’ll be unappreciated, unreciprocated, or ignored, but spread the love anyway. We rise by lifting others