“I was the bakery clerk at a chain grocery store. This store was located near an extremely affluent part of town. I’m talking an area of town full of multi-millionaires and celebrities. In fact, we were on the only road that led to a gated community just two miles away. Therefore, the vast majority of our clientele were either butlers or elderly retirees. One known customer was known to the staff as Ms. Lemonface. She was a rude, bitter, and demanding older woman that no one liked dealing with. I thought I could break through her shell. Once a week, Ms. Lemonface would come into the store, demand I bake her a fresh loaf of a bread, and expect it to be waiting for her when she got done making her rounds of the store. When I learned to predict she’d be there, I would bake the bread in advance and give it to her. This didn’t make her happy. She said the bread would be cold by the time she got home. So I baked it normally and took it to her wherever she was in the store. Then, I tried to enact conversations. At first, she dismissed me. Then, she responded with brief answers. Eventually, we got to a point where we would actually chat. It was light conversation, but it was better than stink-eyes. After five months or so, we were on great terms. And then, one day, she begins crying. She spoke of how her husband had died some years ago, her kids were off spending their money in foreign countries, and she was all alone. She thanked me for my time and conversations, which had become the highlight of her weekly visits.
At this point I confessed to her that I would soon be moving. She promptly asked when. Not just the day,. the time I would be clocking out for the last time. I let her know, and on my last day, as I went to the time clock, there she was. She was waiting with a cake and an envelope. She thanked me again for my conversation, hugged me, and told me goodbye for the last time. When I got home, I cut myself a slice of cake and sat down to read the letter. In the envelope contained a beautiful, heartfelt letter. I admit that I cried about ten times reading it. It also contained $5,000 in cash. I was shocked. I know for her it may not have been much, but to a struggling student like me, it was a ton. It pretty much paid for rent and food for almost a year. In retrospect, the fondest memory is still our last goodbye. Retail is rough more often than not. And sometimes, I want to tear my heart out. But some people make it all worthwhile.”