I remember this one time my mom, one of my big sisters, my little sister and I went shopping.. I wandered away from them to check out the clothes on a different hanger.. jeggings I remember looking for jeggings.. There I was a young black girl trying to act older than her age picking out clothes for herself feeling like some grown up. “Hello” I looked up and there she was.. an elderly lady.. she was definitely mixed, she was beautiful. She smiled at me. I was a shy kid but I managed to smile back and say “hello”. “Doing some back to school shopping?” She asked, at this point I was wondering why she was talking to me because in America, well, everyone minds their business. “Yes” I replied smiling sheepishly (yup i was a really shy kid). And yes summer was almost over so I guess that’s why she was asking, school was starting soon. “Oh Sounds fun what school do you go to?” She asked smiling back at me.. at this point I was looking around for my mom and my sisters, you shouldn’t be talking to strangers but I wasn’t even scared that I didn’t know her, I was more scared how mom would finish me if she caught me talking to a stranger lol America or not, we are still Nigerians.. but she seemed so warm. “Oh not around here, Africa” I answered her.. “oh that’s great! Welcome to NC! you’re only here on vacation?” “Yes” I replied starting to not mind the conversation at all… “You having fun here?” She asked, I laughed a little and answered “yes yes it’s been fun thank you” she nodded and answered “of course well I hope you have the nicest time” she gave me that warm million dollar smile one last time and started walking off.. I smiled back, heck I’d been smiling the whole time and I just stared after her.. I found my mom and my sisters and ended up telling them about the lady and funny enough mom didn’t freak out I talked to a stranger. I don’t even think I’d recognize her if I saw her again,, I don’t know who she is, I can’t even remember her face but some how she made me feel really good, she was extra nice to me. I was just a little girl 11 years old (although I looked older than my age, probably looked 13) but she met me at a store and she stopped to say hello, smiled at me and guys she even said “welcome to NC” lol I remember feeling good all day that day. If only everyone could be that nice to everyone, everyone would be happier because that woman made my day. It’s a day I’d never forget because I learned something from that lady. I was 11 years old at the time going on 12 and she taught me that you don’t have to know someone to be nice to them, you don’t have to know someone to smile at them, you don’t have to know someone to be warm towards them. I mean I always saw mom and my older sisters being that way and smiling at random people saying “hi” but I never understood why until that day. I found myself trying to be that way with people, nice, warm, welcoming.. I’ve learned to be that way with people and it’s all thanks to the stranger at the store.
So Dear stranger from the store about 10 years ago, I don’t know you, I don’t even know that you remember ever talking to a little girl at a store somewhere in NC but somehow without even knowing, you touched my life and for that… Thank You.