Today marks the beginning of December. And so as night follows day and sunshine follows rain, we all know that Christmas is rushing to greet us.
It’s so very easy to get crushed by the Christmas juggernaut. We all too often allow the stress, strain and pressure of the holidays to mar what would and SHOULD otherwise be the happiest day of the year. Then again, sometimes the tiniest voice or most innocent face can give us insight into the magic that still exists in Christmas if we’ll only take the time to look.
WARNING: This story proves the existence of Santa Claus. Non-believers should stop reading NOW! Believers? Continue!
This past Friday was the dreaded and much hated BLACK FRIDAY. As a Customer Service Rep for Lowe’s Home Improvement Store in Cumming, Georgia, I pulled my extended shift to meet the needs of triple the normal customer traffic on this bloated day. For the record, it was my first time working in a retail environment on BLACK FRIDAY since my teenage years in Thomasville, Georgia at F.W. Woolworth Company!
The day was business as usual until I was approached from the throng by a little girl. My guess is that she was about seven … maybe six. She asked me a question in a tiny voice that my 55-year old ears could not hear amidst the crowd decibel level.
Her grandmother then smiled and with a look of desperation, asked if I would call other Lowe’s stores to look for an outdoor Christmas decoration we’d put out the week before. It was a small Dachshund lawn ornament decorated for Christmas. We’d had about twenty the week before but now they were all gone … even the display. The little girl was asking if I could please find one for her.
Now a man on a mission, I pulled the item up on the nearby computer and used the search program to see if any other Lowe’s stores in the area might have one in stock. Nope. None. All gone. And Lowes.com does not carry seasonal decorations. Once they are gone from the store they are gone. Forever.
So I kindly told the little girl, “Sorry, honey. But they are all sold out. How about one of the other choices we have instead?”
Her eyes welled with tears. I was devastated.
Turns out, according to Grandma, that this little girl had a Dachshund pet who died earlier in the year. She’d wanted that lawn décor to honor her beloved pet and Grandma admitted she should have purchased it the week before. She just never knew they’d sell out so fast.
Another look at the little girl. Tears were falling in silence. Her heart was broken. This could NOT be allowed to stand!
When Grandma told the girl that her aunt from Ohio was coming next week to visit, I asked where it might in Ohio she lived. Armed with that info, I asked to be allowed to try something. Looking up the store in the aunt’s Ohio hometown, I called and asked if they had this Dachshund in stock? Turns out they did. I gave them the name of the girl’s aunt (thanks to Grandma) and told the store Customer Service rep that she would be by that day to pick it up. While I talked to the little girl, Grandma called the aunt with the story. She agreed to pick it up that day and bring it to Georgia on her visit the next week.
Being world wise enough to not count my chickens before they hatch (or my Christmas presents before they arrive), I told the little girl that Grandma and me had just talked to Santa Claus. He was going to see if he could deliver that Dachshund before Christmas.
“He can’t promise for sure,” I warned. “But I am going to keep my fingers crossed for you that he can do it.”
She looked at Grandma.
“It’s true,” she beamed.
Her face now literally glowing, she squealed and opened her arms to hug me. Grandma nodded emphatically, so I knelt down and gave her a hug.
As I pulled away, the little girl looked up and asked, “Will you really do it?”
“Do what,” I asked?
“Will you really keep your fingers crossed for me?”
I held up my crossed fingers.
“This is how they will stay until you get that Dachshund,” I promised.
After Grandma thanked me profusely, I watched them walk away. I guess I’ll never know if it all works out, but I’d like to think that it will. Maybe after reading this story, you still don’t believe in Santa. That’s okay. But Christmas angels? I believe in those because I saw one that day. And she gave me a hug.
My fingers are still crossed! I hope you’ll cross yours, too!
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder