Corona Virus Quarantine Day #20: April 6, 2020
Hey everybody….in the spirit of celebrating awesome, I want to talk to you about my friend Steven. Steven works at Costco. I know his schedule and I only go there when I know he will be there. He is my friend. Our kids love him. The kids ask me about him every time they see I have gone to Costco (which isn’t very often right now). When we aren’t in quarantine, I go 2x a week. Don’t judge me…I feed 8 people everyday.
Steven is from Africa, Kenya to be exact and he has 7 children. He is a hard worker and he always has a smile on his face. He always asks me about the kids and my job and I always ask him about his family and how he is doing!
Today, I went to Costco. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen him. Remember, I used to see him 2x’s a week…which is more often then I see just about anyone other than my family and my students.
Today we were separated by a plastic partition. We didn’t hug or high five like we usually do. Fletcher didn’t help him check out our groceries like he normally does because I had to leave Fletcher at home. But Steven was no different than he normally is when I see him. He had his same happy and warm smile and his same positive attitude. Steven is a stud and the very definition of awesome. He told me today that while he wants people to stay home, he also needs there to be a steady flow of people so he can get all his hours in. If they aren’t busy, he gets sent home.
He also told me that his sister who was coming in from Africa couldn’t come anymore. Of course I already knew this…but he wanted to tell me this because he had his sister bringing the kids a present from Africa. He was so disappointed that they wouldn’t receive this gift. Did I mention that this man checks me out at Costco twice a week (during normal times)? Just wanted to make sure that was clear since I’m telling you now that during this crisis he was truly concerned about the present he bought my kids couldn’t arrive with his sister.
A little historical context if you will…whenever I can, I bring the kids with me to Costco. They love the “examples” or samples to the rest of us. I haven’t corrected them because it’s too sweet and innocent and I love it. They are so polite when they ask for examples and they have to look the person in the eye, say “may I please have an example” and then once they receive it they must say “thank you”. If they don’t do any of these things they don’t get the example. It’s pretty simple…but man it has helped them with learning to talk to adults, using manners and speaking up so people can hear them (a few of my kids mumble…yuck!) Also the people giving out the samples smile every time they say “example” so I chalk that up for the Dorsey family spreading some joy!
Aside from the example fun, they love to go to Costco because they get to see Steven. He loves the kids and they love him back. One day this fall we had just left Costco and after seeing our buddy Steven one of the kids asked me why I liked him so much. We had an incredible conversation about loving what you do, Steven loves what he does…and hard work…Steven is a really hard worker. We also talked about when you smile at people and go out of your way to be nice and friendly that people take notice of that and that kind of person should be rewarded. For example, I will actually wait in a longer line when I’m there just so I can go to his check out line. Then, our conversation turned to how if someone does nice things for you or makes you happy that you should tell them.
Here’s were it got really magical. The kids then decided they wanted to buy Steven a Christmas present. But what? We didn’t know his favorite things or restaurants…and it turns out he was hard to get information out of…but the kids were sold on this idea. They all came home and colored him pictures and Fletcher and Cooper made up a bag of candy for him. Cooper even put in one of his own dollars. It was the sweetest thing to watch them brainstorm how they could tell Steven they appreciated him, his hard work and his smile.
I was loving every minute. So we decided that we needed to do some recon on Steven. Ellen was going to ask him what his favorite restaurant was the next time we went. At our next visit she asked him and he said he “didn’t know.”. Being only 9, she didn’t really know how to press him for information. I said to him “come on Steven, you have to have a favorite restaurant…,” I then asked Ellen to tell him what her favorite was, to which she replied,” KC Joe’s”. To that Steven replied “I really like to eat meat, so any restaurant that serves meat is good for me”.
When we left Costco that day the kids knew exactly where we would get him a gift card. KC Joe’s! Ellen was so excited because they served meat…really good meat (aka brisket) and he was going to love it.
Turns out, we couldn’t find a KC Joe’s gift card in the grocery stores so that meant we needed to go directly to the source, the restaurant itself. No problem, I love going there! When we walked in the door the kids must have reminded me 36 times to buy the gift card for Steven.
I tried to find a day when all the kids could go with me to deliver his present but it just wasn’t happening and Christmas was over and we were approaching Valentine’s Day! So I made the executive choice to go with my partner in crime, Fletcher.
The minute we walked in the store Fletcher asked the person who stands at the door and checks your card where Steven was. They gave him a strange stare and said they hadn’t seen him yet. Tears started to well up in his eyes, he wanted to give him his present so bad. Did I mention that aside from the gift card, Fletcher had wrapped candy and about 25 coloring pages he had made, including one he drew of him and Steven together.
Fortunately, I could see Steven at the check out so we were in the clear. Fletcher did not like that I wanted to do all my shopping before rushing up to see him. When we did get within shouting distance of Steven it quickly became one of those moments you wish you were recording. Fletcher literally screamed his name from about 100 yards away… “Steven, Steven I got you a present.”. He said it over and over until we were close enough for Steven to hear him. Everyone was staring. But, who cares…This was a moment we were having with our buddy.
When Steven saw him, his whole face lit up. He sees Fletcher the most because he’s not in full time school yet and Fletcher ran up and gave him a huge hug. He motioned him over to our cart which was full of groceries and Steven’s goodies. Fletcher begged him to open it.
I mean if you can look at this photo and not see the genuine love in it…I can’t know you anymore…sorry! (This of course was taken the day we gave Steven all of his presents).
People walked past us looking a little confused but most people smiled. Several of his co workers came over to see what was happening which made Fletcher feel all the more important. It was the sweetest 7-minute exchange ever.
We tell our kids and our big kids (VB Players) that no matter what you do, you want to leave your mark on the people you encounter. People should remember you were there…in this case, Steven has left his mark on our family. The kids love him. He loves them too. Not in the way you love your own family but in a way that you learn to appreciate people who make your day just a little bit easier and brighter and you look forward to seeing those people.
Bryan and I want to raise people that walk in the room and make it a little brighter and better. Steven is that kind of person and our kids saw that in him. If nothing else we want our children to appreciate people who work hard, have a positive attitude and are genuinely nice human beings. This whole relationship with Steven gives them the chance to do that.
So today, I wanted to hop over the partition and give Steven a hug…because I’ve missed him. He’s a part of my normal that has been ripped away in this stay at home order. So it was good to see him, hear his voice and laugh and it was even better to wish him well.
The nurses, doctors and health care professionals that are on the front lines during this crisis are heroes. They should be treated and respected as such. The men and women who are working in grocery stores or any essential business are also putting themselves at risk everyday. So, to Steven and every one out there like him…thank you for your service. We appreciate you and I know from first hand experience that Costco wouldn’t be the same without you.
The kids were disappointed they didn’t get to see him and Fletcher was very interested to hear about this “present” Steven mentioned…
And now…we are thinking of what the next present we can give him is!
Fletcher and Steven many months ago after Fletcher had “helped” him check out our groceries! They really are good buds!
GOD bless my friends, stay well and take the time today or tomorrow or everyday to celebr8 someone else’s awesome!