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're 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!"