|“Can I help you, sir?” I asked the middle-aged man from behind the plexiglass of the drop-off window at Walmart Pharmacy last Saturday. |
He stepped forward, gesturing for the elderly woman behind him to follow. “Yes, we’re here to get my mother-in-law her flu shot.”
I gathered the necessary information, smiled at the quiet woman beside him.
She glanced at my name badge. “I can yodel,” she told me.
“No way. I’d love to hear that.” I meant it. I mean, it’s not everyday someone offers to yodel for you, right? Much less an eighty-one-year-old woman. I wondered if it was my name (you know, Heidi the mountain girl!) that triggered the yodeling conversation or if it was something she usually told strangers.
Her son-in-law turned to her. “Let’s wait until after your shot, okay?”
It was not hard to hide my smile beneath my mask. “Yes, probably better to get all the business out of the way first,” I agreed, trying to make the man comfortable.
I ran the immunization through the computer, screened the woman for Covid symptoms, and took her temperature.
“I can yodel,” she repeated as I held the thermometer to her forehead.
“I really would like to hear that.” Now I was curious, though her son-in-law seemed hesitant. I assumed this was something they often went through when in stores or perhaps at doctor’s appointments.
“We have to fill out these papers, Mom.” He led her to the immunization booth while I turned my attention to the next customer.
Several minutes later, as the pharmacist went in the booth to give the woman her shot, the most spectacular, clear, jolly yodeling filled the pharmacy (and probably most of Walmart). It brought many smiles, and from what I could tell, that woman yodeled right through the pinch and pain of her flu shot.
This is one of the many reasons I am grateful to work at Walmart. Yes, there’s the tough moments. The busy days where it seems you are disappointing customer after customer with news of a medicine out of stock or a long wait-time. The cancer patient you’ve been praying for finding out bad news. The harried customer who wonders how they’re going to pay their copay. And yet there’s a lot of good, too. There’s smiles (they are there behind the masks!) and cancer victories. There’s pictures of grandchildren and laughter with co-workers. There’s the gratefulness in the eyes of a customer who truly appreciates your help. There’s glimpses of humanity—the value of it, the story behind it.
In a year as crazy as 2020, I think we could all stand to do a little yodeling. To express joy in our individual, God-given ways. To peel back the curtain of our differences and see the humanity of those on the other side. To not hold the smiles back, even when they’re hidden by a mask. To grasp onto the tender, the humanness, the gifts, and the joy.
Will you yodel with me through the rest of 2020?
With Hope, Heidi
Photo by Pezibear from Pixabay