Today was a very enjoyable day at work. It’s been raining all day so that added to the bliss. I was asked to help a Veteran who is disabled around the store and get things for him and afterwards I was to take my break. He was capable of wheeling himself around so he did. With one arm moving his wheels, we went to grab 8 bottles of Cherry Pepsi. Eventually, we made it to the men’s section. He didn’t see anything he liked so we continued on. He brought us to the electronics. He made a bass sound and said wanted something with a lot of that. He pointed to a CD and I showed him what it was. It was hip hop music and I mentioned that several times. He still wanted it so I put it in his basket. I spouted off several different artist names and he stopped me when I got to Journey. I sold him on a Journey CD and one from U2. He apparently doesn’t like Elvis.
Anyway, we made our way back to the front of the store so he could check out. I then took him to get a sandwich at the Subway located within our store and it was time for him to get back on the bus. So we went outside in the pouring rain as the workers from the disabled Veteran place (I will not mention the name) loaded him and unloaded more people.
As I was about to go back in, I heard of one them say, “I’m sorry Mr. Alvarez, your help didn’t show up. We can’t take you anywhere.”
“What are we supposed to do with him?” Another employee from their workplace asked.
“Just take him inside and set him there,” She replied.
I am heading in at the same time she was pushing Mr. Alvarez in and she literally just left him there- sitting alone- by the line of baskets at Wal-Mart. I was pissed at this. As I was walking to tell my manager what I just heard another employee stopped me and asked if they were just going to leave him there. I said, “Yeah, that’s what they said. I’m about to tell management.”
So I got my manager and told her what I heard. She asked me if I wanted to take him and I said sure and skipped my break. Mr. Alvarez talked very quietly and he was unable to push himself. So I grabbed his blue wheelchair and we went to the raincoat section because that’s what he said he wanted. We found one, after looking for about 20 mins. It was a dark blue that he picked out. He was wearing a brighter blue. I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to look at before we left and he said tools. Of course, I can’t hear well, so it took him a few times before I understood him. He was very patient with me.
Went to the tools and I was having a hard time finding stuff because I am never in that area. I asked a friendly department manager to help and she did. We found some pliers he needed. As we were going to check out he saw some thermoses he was interested in and they were blue. He didn’t find one he liked though, at a reasonable price, so after I wiped his mouth off, (because he was drooling a little) we went to the checkout. I think my experience working at a Living Center paid off today.
Forty-five minutes after we started we made it to the checkout. For his last purchase, he wanted a couple packages of bite size snicker bar bites. The woman who had just left him inside came up to me as I was ringing up his items at self-checkout.
“Oh, you helped him?” She asked.
“Yeah,” I said coldly as I did not make eye contact.
“Did you understand him? She asked.
“Yeah,” I said while putting the rest of his money in the machine.
“Oh, I can’t even do that. I never understand what he is saying.”
“Are you hiring?” I asked her.
She said they are always hiring. So who knows, I may end up working there. I thanked Mr. Alvarez and went back to get a “home” as a cashier. My manager said that another manager told her she should call in on them. I told her not to worry about that because I would. I don’t care how short-handed you are, you make sure your job is done. You make sure all of your patients are taken care of and you CERTAINLY don’t just leave them sitting there all by themselves when they can’t even push their wheelchair. That is someone’s dad, brother, or grandpa. How heartless was that?
Anyway, this is not a freak thing. Stuff like this happens at my job more than you think! We are just normal humans… trying to make a little difference.