It was not my plan to go shopping that day nor was it my plan to shop in the coming weeks on Thanksgiving Day. No, not ever. That is a day for families and for giving thanks for our many blessings — not for running to the mall to secure a deal in celebration of a birthday that was never meant to be focused on consumerism. While it’s beyond my control for the masses, I did have a hand in saving one person’s Thanksgiving. His name was Justin.
In his early 20’s and full of energy, smiles, and personality, this young salesman’s gift was hospitality. I felt instantly at home in this huge store crammed with beds, couches, and tables, where I had come for a bed for Carolyn. (Her mattress had found a new home on the floor upon her departure to IU, when her bed frame disappeared along with her.) Justin knew his stuff and was excited to show me some options. He took me directly to his favorite majestic black bed – not quite the feminine off-white style I had envisioned for my daughter’s room, although the bed just opposite his favorite seemed perfect from the moment I spotted it. Justin answered my questions, and we chatted for a while — more about life than beds.
We talked about school, his work, and how he loved Boston College football – a conversation prompted when he saw the B.C. sweatshirt I was wearing.(Who loves a team that is 3 and 7, I wondered.) When I inquired about upcoming Black Friday sales that might make it worth delaying my purchase, Justin mentioned that he planned to work Thanksgiving night. “What?” I responded. I then drilled down a little further, and he shared the conversation he had been having with his mom that day before I walked in. “My mom really wants me to be at home on Thanksgiving and has been texting me all day,” Justin said.
Well, it must have been a trigger, because I urgently inserted myself into the Thanksgiving deliberations, “Justin, you need to text your mom right now and tell her you’re NOT working and that you will be home for Thanksgiving!” Justin chuckled and probably felt that his mom had somehow been beamed into the conversation. I would not relent and added, “I just don’t think I can buy this bed from you now. You can’t break your mama’s heart!” Cracks appeared and he softened, “Well, ok, you’re right.” I persisted to close the deal, “So, text your mom right now and tell her you’ll be home for Thanksgiving!”
As we moved to the register to begin the paperwork, Justin’s mom responded with excitement, sending another text wondering what happened, “So, what made you change your mind?” she asked. Justin turned to me seeking an answer, “What do I say now?” Of course, the truth is always best so I responded, “Well, Justin, I have no idea why I came in this store today, why you crossed my path, and why we even stumbled into this Thanksgiving discussion while I was shopping for a bed. When I don’t have an explanation, I figure it must be God.”
And so he replied, “Mom, it was God.”
And with that, one Thanksgiving had been saved! Justin would be home with his family. I bought the bed for Carolyn. And, for my favorite new commission-based salesperson, there was a bonus — I also bought Justin’s favorite bed for Nate.