“Everyone Should Be Congratulated on Their Birthday,” a Story About How One Girl’s Kindness Changed an Ordinary Day

2 years ago

People who are parents know for a fact that all the hard work that goes into raising kids not only pays off, but leaves you with plenty of funny stories to cherish. Many times, the little ones learn and develop their own sense of life without anybody realizing they did so. That’s exactly what happened to this mom, whose daughter, on an ordinary day, gave a pleasant lesson of empathy and kindness to everyone.

Bright Side loves to share funny but also positive stories, as we know that a kinder world is within our reach, but only if you’re taught to be kind from childhood.

My (at the time) 7-year-old daughter loved to help with every little household task. She loved drying the dishes, watering the plants, sorting the mail, and even answering the phone.

So whenever I’d have to take her to work with me or out on a boring errand, I’d try and find some small job for her to do to keep her occupied and feel like a valued part of things.

For example, if we were at the grocery store, I might suggest she “help the clerks” by turning all the cans, so their labels faced right side out. And what was really helpful is that it allowed me to finish up the tasks much more quickly.

So when I picked her up from school one day, I had to run to a home goods department store and grab a few things for an urgent repair.

She was getting restless, so I parked her in the plumbing department and said she could be helpful to the store by going through their big row of pipes and returning the mismatched ones to their proper holders.

Her dad’s a plumber, so she knew all about which ones went where. Off I went to finish up a few paces over. I was occupied for all of 10 minutes and periodically peeked over to see how she was getting by.

She’d moved on from the pipes after a bit, but was checking out other products and seemed entertained enough.

So I take a couple of minutes more and all of a sudden, I hear: “Associate to aisle 14 please, we need an associate in aisle 14,” in a young, chipper, 7-year-old voice.

I dash back to the plumbing section, and she’s nowhere to be found. Then I hear the child say, “It seems we have a birthday in the store! Happy birthday to shopper Nicholas Manikowski,” in her unmistakably enthused twang, she took on when talking about something as exciting to her as birthdays. It was the most enthusiastic announcement this big store probably ever heard.

It brought on some clapping and whooping from shoppers that made it hard to discern the location of the box, but I could just barely pick out where the PA was coming from.

By the time I got there, my daughter was engrossed in conversation with a young couple (not young like seven, young like 25), and was gesturing animatedly at a set of sink fixtures.

I thought maybe she was asking them for directions to where I might be shopping or something, but instead, I hear: “Oh yeah, you’ll want the chrome extender. You’ll never sweat the dishes again, and it’s such a centerpiece in the room. This store also offers extenders in copper and —”

I tapped her on the shoulder, unsure of why she was chatting up these shoppers about faucet add-ons, figuring she’d be relieved to see I’d found her. Instead, she whips around and goes, “Excuse me Mom, I’m with a customer.” And turns right back to her discussion.

So I throw my hands up and just hover in the background waiting to see how this all shakes out, because if I already knew anything about my daughter, it’s that when she’s decided to do something, it’s happening one way or another.

So she continues talking to these people, unfazed by her age, about the sink, answering their questions and making suggestions.

At first, I was flabbergasted by the fluidity with which she was generating these seemingly accurate responses and wondering if she was sitting up at night watching The Home Improvement Channel or something — but I soon recognized the lines.

She was parroting her father’s sales pitches from work (with some of her own editorials mixed in).

He advises people on fixtures all the time and his firm got a kickback if he could convince clients to buy from their supplier, the more add-ons the better, so she was laying it on thick. The couple left, agreeing to purchase a whole new sink!

If I didn’t have to rush out to get another child from daycare, I would’ve badgered the store for a commission check.

When my daughter wrapped up with her customers, I asked her what had just happened. She explained, while she was sorting the pipes, people kept coming up and asking her for advice. “I guess I look smart,” she said.

It took me a minute to figure out what had happened because plenty of people who are actually of age to work in the place have been kneeling down, rifling through the pipes, and they aren’t mistaken for workers. I’ve certainly never been.

It wasn’t until checkout that it hit me. On this particular day, her class had gone on a field trip or put on a presentation day or something, in which all of the children had to wear official name tags the teacher had drawn up for them. She was especially proud of hers and kept it right in the middle of her shirt. It was indistinguishable from the ones employees had on their vests. Just a standard red and white “Hello! My name is (blank).”

People were on such autopilot, they didn’t process her age — or they were so impressed by her unprecedented knowledge of plumbing goods that they set it aside.

She confirmed that she knew exactly what to recommend from going to work with her dad. I asked how she ended up manning the PA system, and she explained that another employee who’d seen her helping the store customers realized how helpful she could be, so they asked her to make an announcement, just like I’d asked her to help sort those pipes, and she was happy to lend a hand.

I asked how she knew how to operate a PA system and, to my chagrin, she explained her older sister jumped on the PA system whenever she and her friends came by the department store (she often babysat and ran errands for me). So that was a good data point to have.

And she added that someone she’d helped with a fixture decision had mentioned how he was remodeling his house for a fiftieth birthday present to himself, and she always loves when the bowling alley announces birthdays. So she wanted to try and get some practice with the capacity for announcements. And “wasn’t that a great idea?”

So, she most certainly did not work there, but she was just as helpful as those who did, and I guarantee she had twice as much fun.

Why do you think children solve seemingly complicated problems in such graceful and simple ways? What funny or touching anecdote do you remember about your children?

Preview photo credit ligamentary / Reddit


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