By Harold Klemp
One Saturday morning a woman and her husband decided to go shopping at an expensive home-furnishings store. The company was having a warehouse sale that began at 10:00 a.m. Right next to the warehouse was the regular store, which opened at 9:00 a.m.
The couple arrived about fifteen minutes before the regular store opened. Outside in the cold, unloading a furniture truck, was a young man. The couple asked him if there was a coffee shop nearby where they could wait. The young man gave them directions, and they set off.
They drove around for about ten minutes but couldn’t find the coffee shop, so they came back to the warehouse. The young man was still unloading furniture. He gave them the directions again, but they thanked him and said they’d just wait inside the store.
Coming into the front of the store, the couple met a very agitated young woman. “Are you here for the warehouse sale?” she asked. The couple nodded. “Well, you’ll have to wait until 10:00 a.m.,” the young woman said, and shut the door in their faces. They opened the door again and asked, “Isn’t this store open now?” “Well, yes,” said the woman. “We’d like to look around,” said the couple. And the woman said OK.
They wandered through the store, looking at the very expensive rugs and furniture. Then the young man came in, carrying two cups of coffee. “I know you didn’t get your coffee,” he said. “I thought you might like some.” The couple thanked him and started sipping.
Immediately the young woman came running out from the back room. “Coffee isn’t allowed in here,” she said to the young man. Turning to the couple, she said, “If you want to drink that coffee, you’ll have to drink it outside.”
It was winter, and the wife looked out at the snow. Normally this was the point where she and her husband and the salesperson would have all lost their tempers, she thought. But she said very kindly, “I can understand how you feel. We also have a home with very many expensive furnishings. But we know how to drink coffee so that we don’t spill it all over. You can trust us. We won’t do it here.”
The young woman was still upset and said some rather unkind things in return. The wife answered, “I think it’s bad business to criticize an employee like the truck driver who serves a customer even though it isn’t store rules. He made us feel welcome.”
The young woman finally apologized. “My dog’s been sick, and I haven’t slept much,” she explained, and went into the back of the store.
The wife and her husband walked around looking at the furniture and drinking their coffee. They could overhear the young woman talking to an elderly man in the back of the store.
“I don’t even know if I should be at work today,” she was saying, telling the man about how sick her dog was. She didn’t know if the dog would get better, and she was so worried.
Then the wife came over to the young woman. “I couldn’t help overhearing,” she said. “I can understand how you must feel. I have a cat now, but I used to have a dog. We love our pets as much as we would love a child.”
The young woman stood up, and the two women spontaneously hugged each other. The saleswoman said, “I have to apologize for my rude behavior before. I feel so bad. I guess I just have to chill out.”
“Well, you could have a coffee and drink it outside,” the ECKist said, laughing. Fortunately the young woman had gotten her sense of humor back and laughed at the joke.
The ECKist was showing the saleswoman some of the riches of ECK, what she had gotten inwardly in the form of love from the Holy Spirit. Instead of flying off the handle at the saleswoman’s attitude, she decided the rude behavior wasn’t going to spoil her Saturday morning.
Because the ECKist waited around and kept looking, she heard more of the story. She learned that this young woman had some problems that affected her and hurt her very much. Eventually she was able to give her love and understanding.