Sightings at the Co-op: Random Acts of Kindness

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Smallest Act of Kindness

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Picture this: it’s one week before the Christmas holiday. The Co-op’s aisles are congested with shoppers and the cashier lines are snaking all around. The atmosphere is fraught with the tensions and frustrations that go along with the holiday season.

In the midst of such chaos, however, random acts of kindness truly emerge. This is why Gay Malin, a cashier and long-time Co-op member, volunteers here and nowhere else.

One of the reasons Gay volunteers here is because of the random acts of kindness we often witness in our community. Here is a story about her experience:

“The Thursday before Christmas, while working my member shift as a cashier, the credit card system suddenly, and without warning, went down. Minor chaos ensued and we were not sure what to do with the long lines of folks waiting to check out, as most people pay with credit cards. Staff were great, running around, and eventually came to the rescue, but it took a bit to get things back on line.

Meanwhile, a man on my line was in the process of checking out his groceries. No problem, he told me, and because he could pay with cash, I was able to ring up his order.

Behind him, with her groceries on the conveyor belt waiting to be checked out, was a woman who was concerned about how she was going to pay for her items. She said she had a check, but because we weren’t sure if the checking system was working or not, I couldn’t take it. The man whom I was already in the process of checking out told her not to worry – he would pay for her items.

She said she couldn’t accept that and they went back and forth – each time he told her not to worry about it. She then insisted on writing out her check to him, to which he responded (to the amazement of all those around), “Just make it out to your favorite charity.” She said she would write the check to him and he could then pass it along to HIS favorite charity, but he told her just to write it out to hers instead.

Turns out that she volunteered at her local food pantry, and when her items were rung up coming to just under $17, she immediately wrote the check out to the food pantry, showed it to this kindly gentleman, and they both were happy.”

As Gay said, witnessing acts like this are “a fine example of the kind of customers we have at the Co-op, and how one kindness leads to another kindness.”

What goes around comes around, indeed.

Do you have a random act of Co-op kindness to share with us? Let us know!

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Donna Aitoro Williams is a writer and teacher who has lived in the Capital District since 1989. A long-time member of the Co-op, she remembers the store on Quail Street, and the days when shoppers there “had much smaller notions of ‘personal space’.” With her daughter, Antonia, she supports causes for social justice, peace, and reconciliation, causes that they both share with Honest Weight’s. Being a member of the Co-op Voice team is a welcome change to her editing job in higher education during the day. She looks forward to serving the community she’s known for so long, to connect them to each other, and to the progressive world beyond.