Friday, October 19, 2012

My Special Guest - Jim Whitaker

Jim occasionally sends me a post now and then and makes my day with his humor.  I don't have the good fortune of knowing him personally, but he's the type of guy you'd love to around on those days when you need a giggle or some inspiration.  i couldn't resist sharing this today...and he doesn't mind at all. 

Opportunity Waits at the Back of the Top Shelf

It’s true. You never know who you’re going to run into at Walmart. And I don’t mean with a shopping cart in the shins.
Being legally blind, I make it a habit to carry a white stick, tapping it along the floor in front of me. It’s a matter of survival. More than keeping me from tripping, the stick warns people I am there and that I likely will realize more later than sooner they are there as well. The stick is especially essential in Walmart where many shoppers have attention deficit like in the predicted zombie apocalypse or have been injected with death-wish-rush steroids. Many of the shoppers seem often inflicted with both conditions working in tandem to inflict the disease Walmartrudenessitis.
I was standing in the cat food aisle pondering what to have for supper - tuna was coming to mind or maybe shredded chicken in gravy sauce - leaning on my stick when a little old lady came up to me. Yes, she really was a little old lady I could make out as she got closer. She had the requisite 5 feet, 1 inch of gray hair, soft voice, knitted red cap and wool sweater the same color of her hair.
She looked down at my stick and pointed at it.
“Do you think you could come here and bring your stick?” she asked me with a familiar politeness that smacked of someone’s mother with lots of practice saying “get over here, boy.”
Not shy to ask for help, she was having trouble with something on the top shelf in the next aisle. I couldn’t tell for sure what she wanted me to reach for her, not being able to “see” it because the fairly large dark object was shoved all the way to the back of the shelf and not being able to see it for the most part in the first place.
This nice woman who had concluded I needed to be putting my stick to some bona fide purpose gave me direction of sorts to snag the object as she fretted some that I might not able to retrieve it.
“Don’t worry,” I assured her as I wondered to myself if I was going to topple this thing down on both us. I didn’t feel like giving a little old lady a concussion. Come to think of it, I’m not fond of concussions myself although they do have their place in some sports played without head gear.
My stick and I snagged it once. My stick and I snagged it twice, dragged it forward. Snagged it a third time, dragged it frontward. Snagged and dragged, it was teetering at the edge of the shelf.
“I can get it now,” the lady offered.
“Oh no, you don’t,” I thought to myself – at least I hope it wasn’t aloud. “I’m not giving you a concussion and you’re not going to crack open my skull.”
“Oh, look. A lid to a litter box,” I said as I set the thing in her arms. “Can you make it all right with that?” (Considering the lid took up 3 feet or so of her 5 feet, 1 inch.)
She assured me she could, thanked me, went on her way as I noticed the abundance of litter box lids on the same shelf, at the edge of the shelf, setting next to the now completely empty part of the shelf.
Then it dawned on me what this was all about.
I’m not the first shopper to help a fellow shopper in Walmart. Despite what I wrote earlier, most shoppers there are polite, willing to help another person find a particular item or reach to the top shelf.
I did nothing extraordinary, but I felt exceptional after doing it. I had gone many days feeling unexceptional, ordinary and lackluster. On this day, though, I answered an opportunity presented to me as a gift. I was able to use my “disability” to help someone else extend their reach and fulfill their need. Were it not for being legally blind, I too would not have been able to help attain a wish at the back of that shelf.
Such opportunities come from just one source.
It’s true. You never know who you’re going to run into at Walmart. I just didn’t think it would be God.

Jim Whitaker
"Hill of Beans" Author, Columnist,
Staff Writer Cynic Online Magazine
My book is available at,
Contact me at             

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