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Employee of the Month.

Yesterday at lunch, I was browsing at one of my favorite stores and picking through a pile of spring sweaters.  (Buy one, get one 50% off!  I'm a sucker for a good sale.)  So I find two sweaters that are pretty and springy and have that nice, soft cottony feel that you want to rub against your cheek.

Then that feeling hits.  The one where my jacket felt warm and heavy against the spring chill but suddenly made me feel like it was a fabric tanning booth - too hot, too heavy, and like the sleeves were thick with mud.

"Excuse me?  I know it's a weird question, but do you have any juice or candy in this store?"

The pregnant woman behind the counter gave me an odd look.  "I don't ... hang on ... um, I have half of a mini Milky Way bar?  Is that okay?  You just hungry, sweetie?"

"No."  My tongue was too big for my mouth, making it hard to talk.  "Can I just leave these here for a few minutes?  I'll be right back."

Walking with determined, focused steps, I went outside to where my car was parked and unlocked the door.  Leaning in the passenger side, I grabbed the bottle of glucose tabs from the center console.  

"Damn it, two?  Only two are in here?"  The bottle was almost empty, save for two lonely glucose tabs.  I poured them into my hands and ate them at the same time, the glucose tab dust coming out and snowing all over the passenger seat of my car.

"Gee whiz," I said.  (What's that?  Not kidding you on that one?  Fine.  I dropped an F bomb right there, outside of Ann Taylor.  I have no class.)  I noticed a Panera Bread next door so I slammed my car door and walked over there, listening to the Dexcom blaring from inside my purse.

There was a line for lunch.  Four cashiers were working furiously, but the low was creeping up just as fast and my legs were beginning to buckle.

"I need orange juice.  I'm diabetic and having a low blood sugar.  Can you please help me as quickly as you can?"  I stood there in my work clothes and my coat, with my grown-up purse over my arm and started to cry because I couldn't function properly and I was becoming more and more confused.  Not sobbing, not whining, not outwardly breaking down, but big tears rolled out of my eyes without permission and headed for my jawline.  

The boy behind the counter was taken aback.  "Stay here.  Stand here.  I'll be right back.  Don't move."  He ran and returned with a glass of juice.  I moved toward him like goldfish in a pond going for crumbs of bread. 

He watched as I drank the entire glass without stopping, knowing that people in line were watching me and staring and I couldn't bring myself to care.

"You good?  You seem better already, right?"  CounterBoy answered his own question.  "You're good.  You're fine." 

I fumbled with my wallet.  "How much do I owe you?"

"Miss, it's okay.  I'm happy to pay for that orange juice myself.  Please."

"No, I'm diabetic but I have a job.  And I appreciate your help."  The novocaine of the low was starting to wear off a bit, just by knowing the juice was in my system.   "I'd really like to pay."

"Okay, let's just call it a small, okay?   That's a dollar.  A dollar is fine."  He punched the keys of the register.  "$1.05" came up on the digital screen.

"A dollar five.  Okay."  I handed him a dollar and dug around in my pocket for a nickel.  "Here you go.  Exact change.  We'reHe should be employee of the month, damnit. good."

He put the money in the register and wiped his forehead with his wrist.  "You sure you're okay?  Do you want to sit for a minute?"  A guy waiting in line mumbled something about 'flirting on your own time.'  CounterBoy raised an eyebrow.  "Sir, this is a medical emergency.  I just saved her life.  Your sandwich?  Little less important at the moment, okay?"  

He turned back to me.  "You good?"

"I'm good.  Thank you for your help.  I really appreciate it.  You saved the day, man."

"I did.  I saved the day."  He squared his shoulders.  "I'm going to be employee of the month!"

Comments

He should be!

I have had the same at a 7-11, to my luck the girl behind the counter knew from the moment she saw my eyes. It turns out her father is also a diabetic. Hold your head high, we've all felt that kiddish/scared sweat! Thank goodness he stood up for you

Counter Boy rocks! The Guy in Line---not so much.

Ahh! Goosebumps! I love the "Your sandwich? Little less important at the moment, okay?" line.

I had a busy day last week and so I ate breakfast earlier than usual but lunch at the same time. So that, of course, meant a low before lunch, but I was at a presentation with 300 people and couldn't exactly sneak out. I could however, find one of my diabetic co-workers and bum her last Starburst off of her. Fellow diabetic saved the day that time!

I so heart that Panera guy!! Reading this made me weepy. And also reminded me that it's been far too long since I went to Ann Taylor, because I don't remember a Panera being there??

Aw! Nice to see customer service includes prioritizing these days. Can we start a comment card writing campaign for that guy, cuz he rocks!

Did you contact the manager?

That's awesome! Wow! Superhero! Did u call panera?

Sandwich boy for president!

Definitely contact the manager. They get so many complaints its got to be uplifting to here some praise. I gotta admit: I had tears in my eyes for Panera CounterBoy!

I get so choked up when I read this stuff. It is nice to know that good people that want to do the right thing are still out there in the world AND that I am not the only one who will drop an F bomb if I am stuck in a low with no glucose to be found.

That just totally made me cry! I'm glad he was there for you. That is one of my main nightmares. Too low, no juice and no one willing to help. But, you know what? I think there will always be that person around to help. Good for Panera Guy!

Kerri, you're a great sotryteller! This story had me rolling...

My favorite lines...

* No, I'm diabetic but I have a job.
* CounterBoy raised an eyebrow. "Sir, this is a medical emergency. I just saved her life. Your sandwich? Little less important at the moment, okay?"

Awesome. Definitely call the Panera. And that guy deserves a great tip!

I went to Pantera Bread's web site. Clicked contact us. Chose the 'something not on the drop down list' option A wrote: Go read this and make the kid employee of the year and added this thread's URL.

You can too:
http://www.panerabread.com/about/contact/index2.php

GO Counter Boy! :D
He rocks.
Even though he may never know it, he is the coolest Counter Boy EVER!

I second the "let the manager know". Two reasons: (1) regardless of his hubris (this will make him employee of the month?), he handled a medical priority situation before it became a medical emergency; (2) the employee may have gotten reprimanded for not following the queue -- letting the manager know that he handled a "situation" with poise and aplomb can help; (3) without the definitive recommendation, he may not get that "Employee of the Month" commendation...

Oh, and (4) some stores have special awards for employees who go "above and beyond" in terms of customer service. Would be nice to encourage that sort of behavior.

That is an absolutely fabulous story! I love CounterBoy! ... your sandwich, not as important... Love. It.

I agree with Everything Everyone wrote!!

I had tears in my eyes! For you, when you started to, for you when you got help.

And you know what, he is right, he saved a life.
Go CounterBoy!

Love this post. Thank you for sharing and being so candid!

And yes, he deserves recognition, your juice (our juice) was more important than a sandwich, who knew! ;-)

I do hope that you give the manager of that Panera a couple of and link to your article. You should probably make sure the headquarters of Panera also get the link. What a fabulous job that kid did.

But at the same time, I go crazy at stories like this. You're an "experienced person with diabetes." Why were you even in a store without glucose tabs in your pocket or purse?

Gah, I'm glad I'm not the only one who choked up! :)

Yay for CounterBoy!

Oh my goodness that Counterboy is my hero! Love that he told off the dude in line. That story just got me a little choked up too! Definately let the manager know if you can - he is Employee of the Year I think!

First, your blog made me teary-eyed and thought there was something wrong with me. Then I read the other comments & realized (to my relief) that I wasn't the only one! Second, some of the other comments made me laugh. (I heart that panera guy & sandwich boy for president!) :D But most importantly, there should be more people like that out there and I hope that if/when we need it, they will be there.

Kerri this story gave me chills as I thought back to my scariest low..alone, in traffic, not wearing my medic alert bracelet and with nothing but a few tic-tacks in the car…yes, this was during my irresponsible phase, that was thankfully, short-lived.

I managed to stumble into what ended up being an assisted living facility, leaving my car in the middle of the parking lot, I just kept repeating my name, that I was a type 1 diabetic, and that I needed help – needed sugar.

Thankfully the woman at the desk understood enough and brought me something to drink. I honestly don’t remember the next few minutes but the next thing I do remember was sitting there with a few of the employees and drinking some juice. They then gave me giant plastic bag full of sugar packets to take with me when I left.

I was so grateful that, the next week when I took that same drive, I brought a bouquet of flowers with me and dropped them off with the woman at the desk.

I’ve never been so scared in my life…Needless to say, lesson learned, I have worn my MedicAlert bracelet every day since and always try to make sure I have a stash of glucose in the car and in my purse.

@Casabby...
Come one. You've never forgot to put tabs in your pocket, or forgot your testing strips at home, or had your finger-stick fall out of your pocket? We all make mistakes, and that's why we do things like leave tabs in our car. No one's perfect.

I agree with Adam. Thats why I love this blog. No one is perfect and although we should be prepared.. it's life! I have to say that I've had several "not prepared" times throughout the years. This story also brought tears to my eyes! Thanks Kerri for sharing your story.

I am teary eyed and feel a sense of renewal .. I am the mother of a diabetic son (Who happens to be sick at home with ketones today) and your story reminds me of how I am so thankful for those times when my son goes low and i have used all the resources of sugar in my handbag or his kit stash... and 'we' without intention count on those around us to help. I also am just as happy to use my stash for strangers in need. This world can be helpful - I lived through sept 11 in NYC and now live elsewhere, but still belive that in times of need.. no matter the scale... people should help, and be happy too. Yay for counter boy! Yay for you telling the story.. and bringing tears and a smile to my face on a day like today!

Casabby -
Because we're experienced, but not always perfect. I've been type 1 for 19 years and things just happen. That's what's so hard about this disease - you have to think about it constantly. There will be mistakes. That's just life. The reason I read Kerri's blog is because she's human and never claims to be a perfect diabetic. She's like me and I can relate.

Employee of the month FOR SURE!! This got me all teary eyed and made me remember a time when we had offers of help while out shopping with my little one- once in Walmart she was low (I did have some glucose tabs) and a manager offered her a banana. It made my day!

So very sorry that happened to you but I had tears in my eyes for the wonderful thing that counterboy did for you. It is comforting to know there are people out there willing to help.

These people don't realize they are heros. I had a similar experience at a CVS that had closed for the day, but were taking in deliveries. The manager let me in to grab a juice. It reminded me there are still nice people around. Glad Panera guy was working :)

epic win.

Definatly deserves employee of the month.What a guy!

this story made my day!!

a friend of mine works at a hotel, and a guest was having low bg. because my friend has been around me enough, he knew the guy wasn't high on drugs and got him orange juice. :)

Employee of the YEAR!!!
Your writing is so descriptive and I can relate so well that sometimes I literally feel low as I'm reading stories like these! I actually tested when I was done getting through this one...nope, I wasn't low at all!!!
Thanks for sharing your story with us!!!

I love counterboy. I love that he told off that customer!!!!
Its so awesome when someone else stands up for you for a change!!!!

It's a bird....
It's a plane....
It's.....COUNTERBOY!!!

YAY! I'm so glad he acted so quickly :) He definately should be rewarded for that! Better yet, I think Counterboy should teach the "Customer Service" classes and show them all how it should be done ;)

Oh yeah...and Panara....give that boy a raise!

OMG Ker, I am so happy that guy was at the counter for you. He deserves employee of the month how cute he said that haha

BTW I love panera bread! haha

Good for him! I think it's kind of sweet that he was so proud of himself - and he was obviously a caring young man.
Yay for Panera Boy!!

Oh man, that is great!! Thanks for sharing that, I hope CB (counterboy) gets a chance to read all these comments!

Oh, that was the nicest thing ever! My heart grew three sizes.

I love Panera, and now I love Panera Boy.

Just wondering, but what was wrong with the half eaten candy bar. I know about the whole chocolate not being quick, but it was probably better than nothing, til you found something anyway. I am just happy to hear you didn't pass out.

Kerri and all- I apologize for coming across as a critical b*tch. But I do hope that along with our kudos for "Counter Boy" (isn't that the greatest name ever!), we all check our pockets, purses, and cars to make sure we have glucose tabs with us (at least today).

such a great story. as always, you have such a talent for expressing the situations that we all go through as diabetics. thanks, kerri!

Kerri, you are the Jerry Sienfeld of diabetic life. Once again I'm reading about thoughts and experiences I assumed were mine alone and here you are making it public domain for all of us to relate to. Love it!!!

OMG, you are such a great writer, I cried, I laughed and if you get counter boy's name, I'll send in a vote for employee of the month!

Keri you are just so brave even through a low.

What is wrong with me, I have been doing this for 42 years and I have never asked for help??!! duh!!!

I heart counterboy and I heart you as well for taking such quick action, glucose tab ready or not. :)

Another Counterboy fan here! Good for him, good for you for getting in there and telling them what you needed. Panera definitely needs to give that Counterboy some love!

As has been said so many times already, I LOVE this story. I'm so glad you were able to think clearly enough to express your needs so well to this sandwich slinging saint! And I'm so glad he was as 'take charge' as he was. Way to advocate for a person in need! You so totally ROCK, Counter Boy!

It would be nice to know the lad's name. He should be informed of his new celebrity status, don't you all think?

Love this story. I am sitting here with tears. Yeah for counterboy.

Haha... "Gee whiz". I'd be throwing an F-bomb or two too.

If I use glucose tabs, I feel like I need to carry a 50-count bottle with me instead of that lame-o 10-count vial. Too many days, that vial wouldn't take me through the entire day. I don't see why they can't make tabs that are an entire 15g carbs. Gee whiz, even if they were 5g/tab, you'd only need 3 instead of 4, and you could get 3 treatments from a full vial instead of 2 1/2.

I'm glad Panera boy took care of you... and put that d-bag in line in his place.

And lets carry enough glucose tablets with us , to serve whole of ...CANADA .I sometimes have just barely enough for me ;-(Lesson learned !!

Kerri , your story very heartwarming ...this chap deserves a medal and more " dough " in his bank account ...will you please let his place of business know, that we in Canada have respect for how he handled a person in need !!??
BC, Canada.

Another grown man getting choked up over this. :)
Diagnosed less than a year ago, I have only experienced a couple of serious lows, and luckily where someone who knew me could help. I can't imagine what it would be like to have it happen in public when I'm basically alone... scary!
Panera Guy for the win!!

Counter boy is straight from the Hero Factory!

Kerri

I'm so glad you got through this OK. And I agree with everyone else, PaneraBoy deserves big praise for his initiative in helping you.

stella.contactus@panerabread.com is standing by for the info from where the helpful counterboy worked... Please Kari, let her know... See her message to me...


We've received several comments from readers of this blog. However, none of them actually say where this bakery-café is located. Next to Ann Taylor is not enough for us to find him. We have over 1,200 bakery-cafes.We'd like to share your comments with the appropriate representatives, but we're not sure whom that would be. If you know the address and/or store number of the bakery-café where this associate is employed, please let me know.Best regards,Stella

This 'counterboy' (if you have not yet already) deserves corporate recognition... Lets help show him how good deeds are rewarded ;)

Hello work with the Counter Boy at Panera Bread. I am the Shift Supervisor there and I would just like to take the time to let you know that the act of kindness was really just my every day demeanor. I just think it is pointless in life to do any other thing than to be happy and just try to enstill that in every one I come into contact with. I love making sure that every one of my guest are pleased and at the time, alive and well. It is my goal here at Panera, to make a connection with everyone that comes in. I thank you for all of your comments and I hope in the future I can be of some assistant with anyone that might need alittle extra customer service. Because here at Panera that's our motto. NO JERKS> WE ARE AN EVERY DAY OASIS! Thank you

As a tip, you could have gone straight to the condiment area and grabbed a bunch of sugar packets and treated yourself. I've done that several times when out and needing something quick. No one has ever asked me why I was mainlining sugar, either.

Very cool! And now we know that it was Alex Golden that saved your life, AND made me smile by politely telling the guy behind you to fuck off.

:-)

Yaaaaaay!!! That is an awesome story!!! Way to go Alex, we need more people like you, willing to go out of your way to help someone in need! :D And Kerri, I'm glad you're OK! Did you get those sweaters? ;)

My boyfriend, Bryce O'Brien, is the Counterboy, not Pancreasmom. We have been dating for 5 1/2 years, and he has known me for longer; my older sister is diabetic, so he's fully aware of what needs to be done in an emergency. It makes me angry that some people are claiming to be the "Counterboy". Again, it's my boyfriend, Bryce O'Brien at the Panera Bread in Darien, CT. Kerri, I am so glad that he was able to help you when you needed it. I was also moved to tears when reading the story. It means a lot when the ACTUAL person who helped you out is recognized. Thank you for recognizing a good deed, they are so rarely noticed these days.

Congratulations Bryce O'Brien. This story really made my day. MY 6 YO son is T1, we live in Fairfield County and its really nice to know there are people like you willing to help, T1 or not. May my children grow up to be as compassionate as you.

Keep up the great work!

PS Kerri - enjoy your blog.

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