Back to school, COVID time, nothing is normal but suddenly it’s very busy. This morning was no exception: Day 3 of school for my son and in a groggy voice at 7:11 am he deliberately formed the words ‘mummy, I need an apron. Do we have one?’
Product design? Food tech? I’m not sure which, but we were due to leave the house in a matter of minutes to get him to school for the 8am start. – ‘Yes, yes, I’m sure there’s an apron,’ I said as I searched the corners of my memory. Under the stairs, on top of that suitcase with the extra duvet in it, next to the extra waxed table cloth and under the water filter cartridges was the apron. Saved! Saved? This is what I found:
My eldest son informed me that there was NO WAY a teenage boy should have to wear an age 3-4 apron at high school, unless I actively wanted to invite a year of bullying, and I certainly don’t want to be the cause of that so we piled in the car right then. The plan was to get an apron at the grocery store. They have dishes and stuff, so hopefully they would also have an apron.
We walk into the empty store and there are two managers talking near the kitchen things. I asked for guidance to find the aprons and sure enough they both instantly knew where to send us, but there were none, only tea towels. Seeing us still looking, they asked if there were any and another worker sympathetically said – ah, find out about it at the last minute? I remember that happening…
The senior manager looked at us and said, ‘I’m sure we have something’
He started thinking – aloud a bit too, which made it interesting and so very encouraging. Maybe the pharmacy has a disposable one… or the bakery… let me check those places… hold on a minute.
We stood there, and my son became increasingly nervous as the clock ticked. Mummy, just write me a note saying we didn’t have one and couldn’t get one for today. and I said -No, just wait, he’ll come back.
That manager did come back, and he presented my son with the most beautiful, freshly cleaned, white finest cotton apron. He said it was one of the aprons for their bakers and he was happy to lend it to us for the day and hopefully we could find one before the next class. He asked us to wash it and return it, and said that of course they would have to re-launder it, but because of COVID we needed to wash it as well. -A smile grew across my son’s face as this was beyond his expectations. Who walks into a store to be given something far nicer than anything we probably would have chosen to buy for the school class. and more than that – just trusted. there was a way.
‘Here, take ours and bring it back.’
That manager had no idea who we were. It was obvious we weren’t buying other things, our arms were empty. I was a woman in her running clothes, and I did comb my hair but had certainly not looked in a mirror and my son was just a boy in his school PE kit. Nobodys. Anybodys. But suddenly we were somebodys.
The manager handed us a card and asked if we could give a feedback rating that he could show to the team. Um, Yes. Yes we can do that.
Thank you Marc from Tesco (that’s the name on the card, must be the manager’s name) for caring, for thinking outside the box, for not judging us (for not having an apron at the last minute!), and for trusting. It’s people like you who put and keep the humanity in our community.
Featured image shows the type of apron. Image source