With so many places to go, things to do and people to see, it’s not uncommon to be in a rush. And when you’re at a standstill with a few moments to spare, like waiting in line, it’s easy to resort to your phone to pass the time and get carried away in a someone else’s drama or story or a cute cat.
But when you look down and disengage, the world doesn’t stop turning. It’s still going, with or without you, and it’s easy to miss out on some of life’s little big moments. That’s what almost happened to Alana Ruthann, a young woman in line at a Walmart check-out, totally checked-out of life with her nose in her phone.
Alana was in line waiting to pay, not paying attention, until something she heard make her look up. Here’s an excerpt of what she posted on the Love What Matters Facebook page:
“There I was, caught in the rush of life yesterday at Walmart Ankeny. Annoyed, I was standing in a line. God forbid I wait for something in this instant ‘I-need-it-now life.’
[I was] holding a few items in my hands ready to celebrate St. Paddy’s festivities, absorbed in my own world of technology, looking down at my phone. I didn’t even notice the two gentlemen standing in front of me until I heard an older man’s voice in confusion declare, ‘Wait, what is happening? What are you doing?!’
I looked up from my phone to see a younger man in front of the older gentleman respond, ‘Sir, I’m paying for your items because you paid by serving my country and I’m grateful for you.’
The older man was caught off guard with a loss for words, fumbling his gloves in his hands and trying desperately to hold in his emotion, as was I. Just as quickly as he scanned his card and paid for the items, that young man said another thank you and quickly left.
The veteran was still in shock as he was handed the items he asked, ‘What do I do now?’ To which the cashier responded with a warm smile, ‘You have a good day!’
It was that moment I realized I had TWO heroes in line in-front of me. My heart swelled as I watched our veteran readjust his Veteran ball cap, straighten up, and hold his head with pride as he walked out knowing someone was grateful for him.
What a feeling – in this life where we rush through with our eyes down at a screen full of negativity and disagreements – to have someone simply say ‘I’m grateful for you.’
That 20-second interaction didn’t just change the veteran’s day; it changed my day, as well as that cashier’s. Because that 20 seconds showed us by looking up and slowing down, life is pretty beautiful, and surely we can find something to be grateful for.
Thank you, Ankeny Angel. We needed you.”
Her story is hopeful and serves as a great reminder of the beautiful things that unfold around us every day if we just look. Her post has 20k likes and has been shared over 5, 000 times.
Here are Alana’s quick snaps: