The other day, I went with our middle son to the butcher, to pick up something for supper. In front of us at the till was a very elderly man, who was buying a little pot of chicken soup. He had his cheque book out ready to pay, and I thought, “Oh dear!” There is a big sign on the wall that they do not accept cheques for less than £10 and the soup only cost £1something.
The staff at the till are very nice, but I wasn’t quite sure how they would handle this, and I was getting ready to give them the money myself, to avoid embarrassing the old man. However, the charming and watchful manager of the shop stepped in. Putting his arm round the old man, he gently and respectfully told him to put his cheque book away safely and take the soup and he could pay him another day when he had some change.
After the man left, the manager turned to me and said, “He’s 97! He forgets everything!” It was unlikely the elderly man would remember to pay for the soup another day, but the manager preferred to lose a small amount of money than embarrass an old man.
On the way home, I talked through the incident again with our son, to show him how caring the manager was and how nicely he had dealt with it – trying to show the importance of being caring and respectful to old people, but our son, who is not quite 6, was far more interested in how incredibly old the man was!