Britney and Grace

by Arnold Nelson

Britney and Grace are two girls they have come to mean a lot to me and here's a reason why. I am a greeter at a local Walmart. They come in about once or twice a week with their families. And they love to hug all the greeter's. I don't know how the other greeters feel about them but I think they're very special young ladies. No matter how my day is going when I see them and receive their hugs and give them hugs my day suddenly gets a lot better.

Brittany is about 10 years old and I have never seen her without a smile on her face. She comes in with her grandma and sometime her parents. She likes to sneak up on me when my back is turned and put her arms around me. Then I turn around and hug her, we talked for a few minutes and she goes on does your shopping. With Brittany 1 hug is usually not enough she usually gives two or three before she's finished and I love it.

One day I was talking to her and another friend walked up, the friend asked me if she was my niece. I said no, she's just a friend. The friend said she looks enough like me to be my niece. Britney's smile grew even bigger and she gave me another hug. I said she does look a lot like my goddaughter who is my niece. I got another hug.

Some days when it is slow I find myself looking around hoping she comes in and make my day better. She usually comes in on the weekends when she's not in school.

Grace is the other young lady I want to talk about. She is nine years old and she has Autism. If you only saw Grace once you would not know it. Only after you get to know her and see her mode swings you understand what is happening. Most of time she comes in and give me hugs and talks about what is going on with her. She loves dance and she loves gymnastics. For while she was she doing cart wheels for me. I enjoyed it, one day one of the manager told her she should not be doing them in the store because she might hurt somebody. After the manager left she told me she did not like the lady and she stuck her tongue out at her. Grace said she was mean. I just smiled. Another time she was talking about her boyfriend. I was kidding around with her and I said I thought I was your boyfriend. She got a shocked look on her face and said you can't be my boyfriend, you're old and I'm young. I told her I was just kidding, I got a big kick out of that. She usually comes in with her mother and sometimes a sister. One time she came in with an uncle too, she grabbed my hand and said come on I want you to meet somebody, she took me to her uncle and introduced us.

There are other times because of her autism she wants nothing to do with me I understand it, it bothers me, but I understand it. She's another one that brightens up my day just, by walking in the door. Even when she wants nothing to do with me, just seeing her brightens my day.

Her mother must be pretty wonderful woman. She must have the patience of Job to put up with Grace and her mood swings. I have talked with her a few times and I know she is a good woman. Grace can get mad and call her all kinds of names and her mother just walks off and gives Grace time to cool down. Then they leave together like any other mother and daughter, both happy. I have a lot of respect for this woman. Someone once told me God sends special kids to special parents. I believe it.

I have so much fun with all the kids that come in that store. Most of them are so happy. They come running in with their arms up to get a sticker. They have big smiles on the face. And it is just like looking at the face of God. What other job can you have where you can look at the face of God and get paid for it. I love to wave at the kids some of them wave back, some smile, and I've had a couple just laugh and laugh the more I waved the more they laugh. Most of them are pretty polite they say please and after given the sticker they say thank you. That means a lot to me, especially if they're not prompted to by their parents. There a few kids that put their hands to their mouths and then put their hands out straight. I always thought they were blowing kisses. Someone told me recently that is another way to say thank you. It is funny how some kids can be so shy they hide behind their moms or dads and other kids they are just as open and loving and happy as can be. I have a great job and I thank God every night that I can make a difference in the lives of these kids.

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