Couldn’t figure out a title there. Open to suggestions. Also open to featured image ideas. Really, any suggestions on how to run a blog would be helpful at this point.
OK, let’s set the scene.
“Adult,” aged 20… maybe 21. Can’t remember if this was opiate me or regular me. Just bought a puppy, a beautiful black german shepherd/lab mix. Something about that dog (still alive & doing amazing) pushed me to apply at a startup natural pet food store. Recently opened in one of the nicer pockets of town, it seemed like the perfect job at the time. And it was. It was a job I felt a sense of purpose whenever I walked through that door & heard their dog paw chime. Being around animals, around people loving animals, and helping people help those animals live longer. Can’t get that much better for me. If you’re feeding your dog and/or cat Purina or Science Diet, shame on you. Seriously, stop.
I was hired as an under-the-table inventory manager (did I do the hyphen thing right?). The first manager in this little shop’s history. Remember, I was 20, maybe 21. Either really drugged out or trying to work through how to live life without being drugged out. Probably not the best guy to put in that position, but the sweet, innocent owners didn’t know that. Us drug addicts are pros at putting on a face.
The owners were both first generation immigrants, one from Asia, one from Europe. They moved to my hometown to finish up college and pursue opportunities, and they did just that. They followed their passion of business, they followed their passion of animals. They were people I connected with right away – and now that I think about it… they might’ve been the best bosses I’ve ever had.
Anyway, you’re probably asking yourself why any of this matters. Well, I’m sure you can guess I messed up somehow, you just don’t know how bad.
I can’t remember my motive, honestly I can’t. Maybe I was lacking money for rent, maybe I needed money for drugs. Maybe I was just a klepto. Again, I don’t remember, but I do remember finding a way to work the system with a “return item” hack. Essentially I would find an item in the store, run it through the system, and return it. Rather simple when you think about it, and as the inventory manager, it was something only I would notice… for a while.
After putting a dent in the bottom line for about two to three months, the owners finally figured it out. Being the genuinely nice people they were, they allowed me to pay them back & not involve the cops. Of course I apologized, but I don’t remember meaning it. My mind was on getting caught. Again, I was a shiiiiiitty young adult/kid/whatever. There wasn’t a reason to be kind to me, but they decided to be kind. More importantly, they decided to forgive.
Today I stopped at the store, a new one since they’ve done so well since over the past decade or so. They’re now at four stores along with an online presence. It’s really great to see.
I walked in and noticed the gentleman owner. It was he & I, alone, in the store, no music, no nothing. I was scared, really I was. Every time I enter one of their stores I instantly think of how I robbed the damn place. Let me repeat what I did for those in the back: I robbed a natural pet food store owned by first generation immigrants.
Being alone, the owner & I collectively decided to start a conversation, and quickly I developed the absolute need to genuinely apologize. I didn’t go in there thinking this moment would happen, but it did. The response I received was… well, after writing this, I guess expected. The owner assured me over & over that he held nothing against me. The owner asked questions about how I was doing, what I’m doing for work, & where I’m living nowadays. He treated me like the first day I met him – that’s true forgiveness.
I talked, he listened. After that, I listened, he talked. Now you might be thinking, “Oh, they’re just exchanging niceties.” WRONG. Why would you think that? Why are you so pessimistic all the time?!
The owner talked about bringing me back on staff, impromptu. Was I surprised? Hell yes I was. I took from this man when he had one store & barely afforded his one bedroom apartment. Yet this man, being the type of person he is, looked past my one bad moment (well, my two to three months of bad moments) & decided to look at the good of me. Something maybe I should do a bit more often.
As always, I have no fucking clue what you’ll get out of this post. It was just a cool moment I wanted to share with you. I hope you have a cool moment soon.
I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.