Saturday, August 6, 2011

Southern warmth refreshes grocery worker

It's hot as blazes out there, so I am reluctant to drive to the Quarter for Satchmo Summerfest, as delightful as that sounds. I really needed to do some chores and Petco and Winn-Dixie are always delightfully cool.

There were canine temptations at Petco as a monthly Adoption Day, courtesy of ARNO (Animal Rescue New Orleans), was unfolding. Several adorable puppies were tugging on their leashes, begging for my attention, but I didn't dare! After making my catnip and Fancy Feast selections, I quickly moved on to the food market.

The parking lot was baking and I staggered into the store, purchasing several gallons of water, green tea, juice and beer, among a few actual food items, including watermelon.

I was helped to load gallons of liquids into the car by the gentleman whose job it is to collect the grocery carts. He is mentally challenged in some respect, but way above average in hospitality skills. Eternally smiling, he always thanks me for shopping there, entreating me to return. Today, he said more.

The heat is no problem for him because New Orleanians are so kind, they make his work a pleasure. He moved from Los Angeles to the Crescent City post-Katrina when the city desperately needed grocery cart boys.

His parents had moved to a small town in Florida. There are thousands of small towns across America; so small, no one knows they're there. People here call New Orleans a "town," but it's a city, he said.

They call it a town because everyone knows one another, I said. It's friendly.

He's glad to be here, he said, energetically pushing a pod of carts across the steaming pavement and up a ramp. I wished for the days when everyone used to tip bag boys.  Cart collection certainly deserved tipping today.

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