The young man who almost charged us too little said simply: Ï am thinking about my finals instead of my work. I wasnt scheduled to be here tonight, but we are short staffed. My head is too full of school stuff.
Perhaps his distraction was partly our fault. We have a tendency to talk to store clerks, to try to find out who they are. He is studying telecommunications. That is what he told us as he re-established the total and bagged our purchases. He has three exams in the next three days. He will be finished the program in another five months. He has five job offers to consider when he is ready.
Then we were off to the liquor store, where the young man behind the counter left his post and smartly secured for us the Harveys Bristol Cream that had eluded our search attempts. It is not something to be proud of, knowing the location of liquor on the shelves, he said as he bagged the bottle, took our money and tried to make a response to our thanks and praise. He hopes to be known for other things. He has been at the liquor store just over a year now, is studying at a centre for the arts.
The world is full of fabulous young people, we say to each other as we head for home, exhausted from the combination of work and all the other things that happen to us in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We should talk more to them, talk more about them. It might give us more hope, a readier response when we hear about the sorry state of todays youth. In the space of fifteen minutes we met two capable, hard-working fellows with excellent manners, dreams for their future, and patience to work toward them.