An Unexpected Customer
I had barely made my way around the counter when I saw him.
The moment I established eye contact, a huge smile spread across his face. As the corners of his mouth curved upward to form his lopsided grin, his eyes came alive and danced with light. I smiled back and asked, "Is there anything I can help you with today?"
In an excited, childlike tone he exclaimed, "My name is Dodee!" I watched as he fumbled around in his pocket. After a few seconds the search ended, and he presented me with an AC adapter. "I need one of these. Do you have one of these? I need a new one of these."
As I took the adapter from his dirty hands, I knew my coworkers were staring my way. I quickly glanced in their direction, catching what I believed to be expressions of relief mixed with humor. It was not difficult to conclude what they were thinking. After all, Dodee was not our typical customer. His clothes were slightly wrinkled. Neither of his two shirts were tucked in, and no two articles of clothing even remotely matched. Over his blond, unruly hair he wore a blue baseball hat. Curls peeked from beneath the hat, framing his face.
Although at least in his mid-20s, he acted as if he were a young child. The faces of my coworkers communicated relief in being spared the chore of assisting him, while also revealing the humor they found in watching as I took on the challenge.
Feeling slightly uncomfortable I answered, "Yes, we have AC adapters. They're right back here." As I led Dodee to the back of the store, he walked steadily beside me and asked, "What's your name?"
Once again I smiled and answered, "My name is Ashleigh."
"Ashleigh," he repeated. "That's a pretty name, Ashleigh. You're nice, Ashleigh."
Still trying to dismiss the discomfort I felt, I found myself unsure how to react to Dodee. Politely I replied, "Thank you."
Upon reaching the back of the store, I attempted to subtly reclaim a portion of my personal space. Moving slightly to the left, I examined the adapter Dodee had handed me earlier. As I focused my attention on it, the temptation to run overwhelmed me. And why not leave him there? After all, there was nothing wrong with allowing him to look for the correct replacement. I had shown him where to look and had been friendly. Why should I stick around and continue to feel uncomfortable? Dodee would be fine on his own. How hard could it be to match an AC adapter?
Nearly convinced by my reasoning, I opened my mouth to excuse myself. Before I could form the words, conviction washed over me. Deep down I knew I did not have a good excuse to walk away. Yes, I could justify my reasoning, probably well enough to convince both myself and others. But I realized that no line of excuses or justifications would make that decision right.
I couldn't simply walk away and leave Dodee to search for the adapter on his own. I was basing my decision to leave Dodee on what I saw—a man who was less than what the world said he should be. I had failed to view Dodee through the eyes of Jesus. When Jesus looked at Dodee, he didn't see someone of little value or an uncomfortable situation that he couldn't wait to escape.