Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Honest Tea Tale

Would you think I'm crazy if I said I think God sent me up the bottled tea aisle at Whole Foods the other day? There I was, in Atlanta, in need of some lunchtime nourishment, when I decided I'd run in Whole Foods for one of their great (if pricey) tuna sandwiches. I was looking for some refrigerated bottled tea to go with it when I saw the aisle containing the unrefrigerated bottled tea and headed up that aisle instead. That's when I noticed a man in a wheelchair was reaching wayyyyy up overhead to pull down some bottled tea. So I had a dilemma. Now the man was doing just fine, so should I offer to help? What if he didn't want any help? Not long ago, a friend of mine was in a grocery store with her three children and offered to assist a woman in a wheelchair who, alas, did not want or need any help. The woman created quite a kerfuffle over it all, and yet my sweet friend said she later told her children she'd do it all over again, because you're supposed to offer to help people when you can. I don't think of people in wheelchairs as helpless victims (and neither did that friend!), but neither do I want to be insensitive to what is sometimes a very real physical challenge.

So here's how it went down:

"Excuse me, sir. I'm looking for some bottled tea for lunch and I noticed you were getting some of that Honest Tea. Are you a fan of that?"

"Oh yes, I drink quite a lot of it," he said with a huge smile. "It's very refreshing. Just delicious." ("Refreshing," he said. What an elegant way of describing tea!)

"Do you have any recommendations? I was thinking about getting one of these green teas ..."

"That one with the orange flavor is very good."

"Great, that's what I'll get then."

"Say, would you mind handing me a couple of those while you're at it?"

"Be happy to," I said, handing him several bottles of the tea, for which he thanked me.

"Thanks so much for the recommendation," I said, nodding at my bottle of green tea. "I appreciate it."

"No problem," he said, waving me off.

I left with a smile in my heart, pondering the philosophical question of the day: Who really helped whom the most?


  1. Thanks for the great post, Angela. Wouldn't it be great if we all were so kind that our hearts were LOL. I love that you offered the man help, but did it with sensitivity.

    BTW how was the orange flavor Honest Tea?

  2. I like that story. Very encouraging way to start a Tuesday!

  3. Angela, have you heard Beth Moore's story about offering to comb a wheelchair-bound gentleman's hair in an airport? You are right -- it's not that a wheelchair automatically transforms an individual into a helpless victim. It's all about doing what God wants us to do for anyone (with or without a wheelchair) who crosses our path. We are just as likely to be the beneficiaries as those we are "helping." B-)

  4. What a sweet story, you are so thoughtful. I will remember that for future reference. I have both offered, and asked for help before and gotten a variety of responses. This was a sweet way of doing it with respect. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  5. What a diplomatic way to help this man, and yes, I believe God sent you up that aisle for a reason. Thank you for sharing this inspirational story with us.

  6. Now let me just wipe the tear from my eye.... you were very diplomatic with your "help". I wish I would have thought something like that. You're a gift Angela. See, I keep telling you we need to just drop the last "a" in your name.

  7. Maureen, the tea was pretty good but not *quite* as heavy on the orange flavor as I would have liked! And BB, I have heard Beth Moore tell that story years ago, but I'd totally forgotten about it until your comment, so thank you for the great reminder!

    And thanks to everyone for your kind comments today! I think my "takeaway" lesson was that, sometimes, it is a gift when you allow yourself to BE helped. (Which is why I think my role that day was more bless-ee than bless-er!)

  8. very tactful way of helping while respecting the dignity of others-
    we all want to help, but not offend.
    we are all handicapped in some way
    or another

  9. Precious encounter! Good for you for bein brave enough and clever too, starting the conversation the way you did!!! Be blessed, tammyp

  10. What a great way to offer help and you received in return.

  11. What a great day you had. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  12. What a nice story, Angela. Thanks for sharing. I've seen Honest T before, but never tried it. I'll have to grab a bottle next time.
    Have a great day!

  13. What an inspiring story, Angela. You handled it really well and I will keep this in mind, for the future. Thanks for sharing, Joanie

  14. What a great story! I am often faced with this dilemma of whether or not to offer help. One group I've found to never seem to mind: mothers with strollers!

  15. I lurve when God blesses my day like that too! I lurve Whole Foods too and thankfully they are a bit too far of a drive for me to go but when I'm in the area, I do like to stop and peruse the bakery for special treats!

  16. That was so sweet (I said as I teared up a bit).


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