Really; a genuinely good thing.
A very distressed lady on crutches practically fell into the shop today. She seemed bereft and unsure of where she was. And she was crying.
I gave her a chair (that wasn’t the good thing. That was part of the good thing, but it wasn’t the whole of the good thing).
Gradually, between sobs, I found out her granddaughter was having a wedding dress fitting today, and this lady was supposed to be meeting her granddaughter and other family members at the dress shop for a much anticipated afternoon of fun, love, tears of joy and quite possibly the odd glass of champers.
The wedding dress shop was in an old market town.
Unfortunately it wasn’t in this market town.
The poor lady only realised she’d got the names of her market towns mixed up after the taxi driver had dropped her off and driven away.
She didn’t know where she was, she didn’t know where to go and she didn’t know what to do.
She was panicking.
|Picture: Prawny, Pixabay|
I made her a cup of tea and rang a taxi for her (this is some more of the good thing), which seemed to rally her a bit, and she telephoned her niece, who was already at the fitting, to find out the name of the dress shop. She then cried down the phone for two whole minutes, before I gently took the phone from her and explained to the poor, panicked niece what had happened. She said she’d come to get her aunt. I cancelled the taxi.
And then we waited.
The lady kept bursting into tears, so I hatched a cunning plan to keep her talking the whole time it took her niece to find the Out Of Favour (OOF) shop and rescue her aunt (from her self-torment, from her sense of direction, from me; take your pick).
I wasn’t sure how I’d hold her attention, but topics definitely off the table were: weddings, wedding dresses, granddaughters, cocking up, being late, and the snot coming from her nose.
At first she was too upset to talk or respond very much, but as I prattled on, asking her questions about the war, or her favourite brand of tea, (I didn’t ask her questions about the war), she gradually focused less on her predicament and more on my frivolous, inane, but cheerful (hopefully), conversation.
Even so, every time I momentarily moved my concentration from her to a customer I could see her working herself up again. So I literally talked to her non-stop. I told her lots of things about myself (no, that didn’t make her more upset, thanks); I asked her lots of questions about herself, and I incorporated every customer who entered the OOF shop into the conversation so I could keep my focus completely on her (screw ‘em; it’s not like they were going to buy any of that crap. If they wanted to wander aimlessly around the shop they had to pay – in boring conversation).
This lasted for one whole, long, hour (That’s the good thing).
And it worked. She calmed down and became quite chatty after a while. She told me about her garden and her pet dog. She even told me how she used to sleep with a picture of Cliff Richard under her pillow every night, which I thought was a bit much, personally. Eventually her niece arrived, popped her in the car and took her off to the dress fitting.
I was left with a lovely warm glowing feeling inside me, but that might have been because I hadn’t had the chance to visit the loo for well over an hour….
|Original photo: HND, Pixabay|