On my way home from work this afternoon, I stopped by a Best Buy off the highway to pick up a VGA adapter for my MacBook. It was supposed to be a mindless errand - park the car, go in, find what I need, wait in line, buy it and leave. Nothing to it. But an encounter in the check-out line moved me to consider how much even the most ordinary moments can be filled with grace.
The Christmas shopping season is in full swing and the line was several shoppers long. Three clerks were working the registers. As I came closer to the front of the line, I noticed a middle-aged Latino man, letting folks go ahead of him in line.
"Is it your turn, Sir?" I asked when he was the only one left in front of me.
"I am waiting for that cashier," he said with a smile and gesturing.
"Oh, you have a friend who is a cashier?" I asked, smiling back.
"I'm his job coach," he said.
A moment later, he walked up to the cashier, a middle-aged black man with a big smile, and started to talk with him. I moved to the register next to him and the teenaged-girl began ringing up my sale. The other cashier was having trouble. The young girl left her post and patiently worked with the man, reminding him which buttons to push for the sale.
All the while, the job coach was looking on from a nearby spot, gazing at the cashier with a quiet smile. I would say it was a paternal gaze. As I left the store, I thought how easily I take my ability to drive, to shop, to pull out my debit card and head home for granted, skills this employee might never accomplish. And yet, here was a man gazing on another with affection and concern. Here was a teenaged girl patiently guiding a man maybe twice her age through the most basic of skills. Really, this was an unexpected moment of Beauty that I was privileged to witness.