Tears in a grocery store – and the beauty of human connection

Tears in a grocery store – and the beauty of human connection

When I popped into a Persian grocery store in North America, I wasn’t expecting what happened…

Shopping for groceries isn’t usually anything out of the ordinary, but I love exploring different kinds of food stores. After browsing for a while in an interesting Persian store in Vancouver, I took my groceries to the checkout.

There was a young woman serving. She had quite a strong Iranian accent, and I had the feeling that maybe she hadn’t been out of her homeland for very long.

As she totalled up my things she smiled: “You remind me of my aunt,” she said.

I smiled back and said “Oh that’s so nice. Is she here?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head sadly, “She’s in Iran.”

I nodded. Then I asked, “Does she visit?”

“No – she can’t,” the young woman replied – at which point tears suddenly began streaming down her face.

A colleague came over and gave her a hug.

The young woman clearly missed her aunt very much, and something about me (something in my eyes or my smile maybe?) was reminiscent of her.

I was really choked up and very moved – not only by her pain, but more because she had felt able to show that pain to me, a complete stranger, in the middle of a grocery store and while she was at work.

We need more genuine human connection to heal the divisions in the world

It was a tiny fleeting moment in time, but it was a moment of beautiful human connection that transcended culture, language – everything. Those tears spoke a thousand words and left an enduring impression on me. Every person has a story, and every person’s story has the power to teach us something.

It struck me that it’s not the grand gestures of politicians and world ‘leaders’ that will unite people. Instead, it’s those tiny moments of meaningful human connection each day – connection that crosses all cultural ‘borders’ – that will ultimately hold us all together as one human race.

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