Mother shares lesson in patience, kindness after waiting behind slow Target customer

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Saturday, January 16, 2016
A cashier assists a customer checking out at Target in a file photo.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Getting stuck behind a slow customer in a store can be a source of frustration. But rather than bemoan inconvenience, one Indiana woman instead uncovered a lesson in kindness.

Sarah Owen Bigler, who lives in Indiana, wrote about an encounter she says she and her children had at her local Target store on Tuesday. It started when she got in line behind an elderly woman who was taking longer than usual to pay for her items because she was using coins fished out of her purse.

At first, Bigler was tempted to become irritated and impatient, she wrote, thinking of the long day she'd already endured.

"Part of me, the part that had a long day at work, the part of me who had a 1 1/2 year old having a melt down in the cart, the part that had set an unnecessary timeline for Target and getting home, was frustrated with this woman and the inconvenience she had placed on me," she wrote on Facebook.

But then she noticed the care with which the employee, whose name is Ishmael, assisted the elderly woman.

"I watched him help her count her change, ever so tenderly taking it from her shaking hands. I listened to him repeatedly saying 'yes, mam' to her," Bigler wrote. "Never once did this employee huff, gruff or roll his eyes. He was nothing but patient and kind."

What she witnessed inspired her attitude to do a complete 180, she explained, and served as an example for her daughter.

"I realized I hadn't been inconvenienced at all. That my daughter was instead witnessing kindness and patience and being taught this valuable lesson by a complete stranger," she wrote. "Furthermore, I realized that I too needed a refresher on this lesson."

Bigler said she sought out the manager to compliment Ishmael, but she didn't stop there. She said she shared the story on Facebook in hopes that Ishmael's actions would inspire others to be kind the way it did her.

"If you are ever in the Glendale Target, give Ishmael a smile and a nod," she wrote. "The world could use more people like him."

Since Bigler posted it Wednesday, the photo has been shared more than 12,000 times.

"Love this post and the message," reads one comment.

"Thank you for making me sob today. I needed that!" reads another.