And no, I am not complaining about this one. On the contrary, I hold him in the highest esteem. His name is Abdul, and he works at the 30th street King Soopers grocery. I don’t often talk to strangers or store employees, unless it’s about items I am looking for. I think that will change after the massacre at Table Mesa. For years however, I have had many deep conversations with Abdul. I feel like our hearts are connected.
But my favorite talk with him happened a while back right after Passover. The leftover food items were all reduced in price, as many folks rush to shop after Pesach to scoop up these kosher items. One time, Abdul was the cashier and I was raving about the savings. Without missing a beat, Abdul had a response that I have often repeated, but want to share with people especially now.
He stated something many Jewish people have complained about for a long time. He said, and I quote verbatim because it was so memorable: ‘IF KOSHER FOOD WERE NOT SO EXPENSIVE, MORE PEOPLE WOULD BUY THEM.’ I thanked him profusely for that comment, and walked out glowing, maybe even sobbing- not just for the comment, but for the understanding and empathy that creates a caring bridge across cultures and counteracts racial profiling. So this week especially I think about Abdul and can’t wait to connect with him soon. And if you happen to see him- he’s probably the tallest employee there- please start a conversation, and express your gratitude for his presence. I think it will mean a lot to him, as it does to me.