A Special Purchase…

This story is completely true…

I know some of my blog posts of late have been – in the vernacular of my dear, departed Mom – a bit “ouchy.” A LOT is going on at the moment with work; in fact, Saturday, 16 March 2013 is the last day the store I co-own will be open at its current location. The whole journey to arrive at this point, business-wise, has been tough and rocky, and the decision to relocate the store has been especially bittersweet. I will definitely miss the neighbors and friends we have come to know in the store’s soon-to-be-no-longer spot. And today I had an encounter that pretty much displays why the decision to move has been so difficult to make…

He came into the store early, probably just before lunch. I recognized his face; in fact, he had been in the store only a few days ago. He has a big smile and an easy way about himself, so it is easy to remember him.

He said “Hi” and asked if it was OK to still look around. I thought that was an odd question but he then went on to explain he knew we were closing/moving and he didn’t want to bother us. I told him it was no bother and to shop away. He cruised the whole store, humming loudly – and pleasantly – while he shopped. He stopped at one of the spinner racks in the front of the store and seemed to be there for about 20 minutes, just looking…

Finally, he approached the cash wrap with his purchase – a car charm, something that hangs from your car’s rear-view mirror just for decoration. As we made small talk, I remembered more about his last visit. He had bought his wife an initial key chain, a small purchase, and asked me if I could gift wrap it for him. I put it in a small bag for him with some billowy tissue and he smiled broadly. I remembered then that he said he would be back.

car charmSo as I wrapped the car charm (again for his wife, again in a small bag with billowy tissue paper), he shared that he and his wife lived about ten streets away and that they had stopped in the store a number of times to look and “dream.” He went on to share that they have lived in the neighborhood for the same amount of time that the store has been open but had suffered some hard times financially during the past five years and had not been able to support us or shop our store too much. I said I totally understood and thanked him for stopping in now – he smiled and said, “I told you I’d be back.”

Turns out things are on a bit of an upswing for the couple. He has landed a job with the city and his wife has been promoted at her job at one of the big hospitals downtown. To celebrate, they recently bought a new-to-them car so the wife wouldn’t have to ride the bus to work anymore. He said he had always promised to get her a car as soon as they could afford it. The key chain and the car charm were gifts to his wife to celebrate her new wheels. I was touched that he was so open and generous with his story, and thanked him for it. I also told him to let his wife know she was a lucky lady – he laughed out loud and said he would.

We chatted for a few more minutes then he turned to leave. As he went to exit the store, I asked him to be sure to stop by our new store if he ever got over to the east side of Cleveland. He turned, walked back from the door and shook my hand. “You’ll see me again, and next time I’ll bring my wife, too.” interacial-handshake-630_1He turned again and walked to exit the store. When he got to the door, he paused and I said  “I’ll be watching for you over east, now, so don’t forget to stop by,” to which he replied, “Oh, you’ll see me again. I am a man who keeps his promises, remember?”

I am gonna’ miss that guy, and so many other “regular,” decent and common (in a good way) people who populate my soon-to-be old neighborhood. I wish him continued success and good fortune – I suspect he and his wife have earned it/are deserving. And, I am looking forward to the day they drive over and see our new store – it is always great to see old friends after you move…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s