Last night, I met a really exceptional woman. She was my check out lady at the grocery store. I like to talk to people. I can start up a conversation with anyone, even those that think they don’t want to talk to me. I am undettered. That probably isn’t always a good thing.
This particular grocery store check out lady, however, apparently did like talking to me, because we talked the entire time she was checking out my massively huge, exorbitantly expensive pile of groceries.
I learned that when she was in the 9th grade, she dropped out of high school, and never went back. Then in 1999, one of her friends bet her that she wouldn’t be able to go over to the community college and pass the GED cold, with no studying. So she tried, and she did pass. Then she decided she ought to go to college. So she enrolled at the community college and took her general education classes, then transferred over to the University and got a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She works nights at the grocery store to help pay off her student loans, and to save money for her Masters degree so she can teach English at the community college. She’s the only person in her family to finish grammar school… much less get a college degree. Her own children, all graduates from high school, and some from college as well went to her graduation and cheered her on. She told me her motto in life was “Just keep swimming,” from Finding Nemo.
I was awesomely impressed with this woman, and her motivation to better herself, and achieve something she’d always considered unachievable. I’m also grateful that she taught me a lesson in judging people. It’s not that I generally judge grocery store clerks harshly. Who am I to judge someone else? But at the same time… let’s just say I don’t often expect my grocery store clerk to start quoting Walt Whitman.
But anyone, from any walk of life, can ‘just keep swimming’… and apparently, can really get somewhere.