The Key to Kindness

How a simple high school job taught me that kindness can change us all

Ally Pruente, Co Editor In Chief

There are plenty of qualities that I would say we all are born with and learn in our early years that shape us. Yet, what really stands out to me when I think about being kind is the way we treat other people. Our attitude towards others shapes us into who we are. 

I used to work at a consignment store for women’s clothing and accessories. When I got to work on the weekends, customers from all walks of life came into the store and I got the chance to interact with them. 

One day, an older lady named Teresa came into the shop. Right away she asked me where the size 7 shoes were. I pointed her in the direction of the rack with sizes 7-7.5 and went back to organizing jewelry. 

Later, Teresa brought me four tennis shoes. At the store, we provided one shoe to the customer and kept the match in the backroom. I was fairly new to working at this point, and I really struggled finding matches to shoes. With fake excitement, I headed to the back with 4 old lady shoes piled up high enough to reach my chin. 

When I came back I asked Teresa if she needed shoes for any specific reason. She looked down. “I walk everywhere. I don’t have enough money to afford a car,” she said. I immediately told her that I’ve run cross country since my freshman year of high school and understand how important it is to have nice shoes. She smiled at me and then proceeded to try her shoes on. After that Teresa came back to the store to visit me almost every Sunday I worked. 

Teresa was a woman who was completely different from me. She didn’t have much money but still chose to come and spend it at the store on some new shoes. When I was getting to know her as a person, I became more and more invested in her story. I found out that her dad was a baseball umpire and he always told Teresa that shoes are as valuable as your health when you spend all day on your feet. 

Working at the store was only a portion of my high school life, but it really helped me learn that we all have different experiences. It’s never safe to assume someone is just like you. Teresa’s life taught me how kind words and understanding are two of the most valuable assets we can have towards others. I didn’t have to listen to Teresa, but because I did I developed a new view on people. Experiences like this one are lessons I will carry with me to make all the difference I can in the world.