Kindness and conversation

I am old enough to remember stand alone gas stations.  You know, the ones without a mini-mart attached.  I am even old enough to remember when an attendant would greet you as soon as you pulled up to the pump.  You  know, before the days of self serve pumps.  I could stay warm and dry inside the car with my daughter safely secured in her carseat in the back and chat with the kind man doing the pumping.  He would gently pull back the wiper blades and wash the window with a fresly dipped squeege, wiping it after each stroke with a blue rag pulled from his back pocket.  He would ask about my day or inquire about my family after lifting the hood to check the oil.  When the pump stopped I would hand him the cash (yes CASH) and he would run inside and return quickly with my change before wishing us a nice afternoon.  
My how times have changed.  I now pull up to the pump, insert my debit card, type in my pin number, unscrew the gas cap and pump it myself.  Just me.  No conversation.  No how is your day.  There are often others at nearby pumps but they too are inserting cards, typing pin numbers, unscrewing caps and pumping their own gas.  Just them.  No conversation.  No how is your day.

Occasionally I do enter the actual mini-mart for an iced tea or soda (or on a particuarly naughty day maybe a bar of chocolate...).  The clerks are friendly but most often there is a line before and after so the conversation is usually, "Just the iced tea?"  "Yes, just the tea."  "Okay, that will be $1.59."  "Have a nice day."  "Thank you, you too."  
Because I am a creature of habit I usually frequent the same business for my gas and occasional in store purchase.  The employee turnover is high but some faces are slightly familiar.  The last few times I have been in the same young women has waited on me.  She has always been efficient, polite and wished me a nice day.  Yesterday when I stopped in on my way out of town there was an older lady at the counter with two elementary school aged children; one girl, one boy.  The clerk was reminding them that their rooms better be cleaned when she got home.  Off they went and I stepped up to the counter smiling and as the store was unusually empty she knew I had heard the exchange.  
"My kids just each got their own room for the first time." she explained.  "It's hard being a single mom."  "Oh, yes, it must be."  She scans my item and continues,  "I can't stand any kind of mess or clutter."  "Yes, I understand that."  I smile.    "Thank you.  Have a nice day."  "You too."  And then hesitantly I add, "And I hope their rooms are clean when you get home."  She smiles and turns back to her work.  
I head toward the door when she suddenly turns and continues.  "I grew up in a dirty, messy home.  My mom was a terrible drug addict."  "So there is more to it than just wanting their rooms picked up."  I say.  "Yes." She nods.  Conversation.
We chatted a just a little more before I was on my way and she back to her duties.  She may wait on me again.  I hope so.  There may even be more conversation.  I hope for that too.  But one thing I do know, she reminded me once again that we are all facing something and that being kind is good.  But sometimes you need more.  You need conversation too. 

Linking today with His Story here.       



  1. Yes. Sometimes the kindness of strangers is such a blessing. I need to be more willing to go where God leads me.

  2. Hi Mindy,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I agree, we do need conversation. I find with all the 'time saving', 'economy driven' tools, we have less time for one another when we actually need each other more. I am so thankful you got to spend time chatting with this lady, I'm sure it would have blessed her.

    Thank you for visiting my blog today. :)

  3. I agree, dear Mindy, we do need conversation and what a blessing for both of you to be able to talk with one another. You know, there is still a gas station in my town that has an attendant pump your gas. It's always nice to go there because they will talk with you if you leave the window down and they always clean the car windows :)

    Thanks for sharing your story and enjoy the rest of your week. Hugs!

  4. Hi Mindy! What a wake-up call that was, huh? I saw a meme that said pretty much what you did. You just don't know what people are going through. We are friendly and move along, but we never get to know each other very well. So much better to treat each other with kindness...and like the brothers and sisters they are.

    This post is very touching, Mindy. I bet this happens to you a lot. You are such a friendly, open person. Bless you!

  5. We went to a small church for a while where our son was preaching. I got aquainted with an older lady who had led the most interesting life and had a sense of humor as well. I mentioned to one of the church members how I enjoyed talking to her and how interesting she was. This lady looked at me and said "Irene???" Even though "Irene" had been going there for many years, nobody seemed to have taken the time to really get to know her. This isn't the first time this has happened to me either. I wish more people would take the time to converse! I'm glad you took the time with the clerk. Some of us are just waiting for someone like you to care. :)

  6. Mindy,
    Of course she would pick your sweet heart to open up to! I do think God is up to something…great post!

  7. Love this sweet story. It's a great reminder of the simple (but BIG) ways God can use us. Just conversation. Yes, conversation is a beautiful thing when it moves past the "hi how are you I'm fine" and really gets to see a person. Love the way you describe it.

  8. Smiling as I am old enough to remember stand-alone gas stations too. And attendants! Wow. I'm just glad that at least we don't have to go inside again--there was that in-between time between attendants and debit cards. :)

    This is so true! How wonderful that you weren't in such a hurry that you missed it.
    "she reminded me once again that we are all facing something and that being kind is good. But sometimes you need more. You need conversation too."

  9. I remember Oprah Winfrey saying a long time ago that we should never judge strangers quickly or harshly because we have no idea what is going on in their lives and what they have to cope with. This woman must have recognized that you would not judge her and she felt free to share with you. What a wonderful gift you have for connecting with people, Mindy. You have also brought a community of people together on here who are touched by your thoughts and words each week. I`m so glad to know you!

  10. Love this, Mindy! We NEED each other, don't we? I hope you are able to develop a relationship with this person because I think she NEEDS you in her life. Hugs! xoxo susan