“Can you ring up any slower, old man?” Those were words that spewed out of an angry customer’s mouth one Saturday morning.
Walmart was always full on a Saturday morning, and an irate customer seemed to be in some kind of a hurry.
She was now taking her frustrations out on their faithful employee, Lloyd, and Nick couldn’t stand it anymore.
Nick Hayes was the floor manager at Walmart, and he was responsible for making sure that everything was running smoothly in the busy store.
Saturdays were usually the busiest, as families and busy moms would hit the store to get their weekly supplies.
But some customers just came into the store with a bad attitude.
The Customer Was Always Right
But Nick was told that “the customer was always right,” although he didn’t believe it one bit.
Sometimes, he felt like customers would intentionally come into the store to cause some kind of trouble, only for them to get a freebie or a voucher of sorts.
He was sick and tired of it. But loved his job, and he supposed he was just going to have to put up with it.
There was one employee who was loved by all. Lloyd Bird was the oldest employee working there at 80 years old. Nick was very surprised on the day he started working there.
But Lloyd proved everyone wrong. He was kind and friendly to everyone and managed to work the tills like a pro.
But Nick hated the fact that someone at his age was still working.
Everyone Loved Lloyd
When Nick asked him about it, Lloyd had the perfect answer. “Son, you have to keep active at this age, or else you will meet your end sooner. Plus, I love working here, and I get paid to do it.”
Lloyd was a character, and the customers always made a long queue just so that they could get his checkout till.
He always engaged in friendly banter, whether it was kids, teenagers, or someone of similar age to him.
But not everyone was as friendly. Some days, the staff would have to deal with customers who were always looking to make a scene for some reason.
Candice from the make-up counter was always dealing with teenage girls trying to steal various lipsticks.
Jerry at the deli counter once had someone trying to take all the cold meat samples for a party they were having at home.
Nick and his staff had seen just about everything, and they were ready for anyone who wanted to try their tricks on them. But they couldn’t say the same for Lloyd.
Lloyd was kind to everyone, and that meant even the ones who weren’t kind to him.
Nick witnessed people passing a lot of snide remarks, and Lloyd just smiled.
At his age, all he wanted was peace, but Nick hated the way some customers treated him because of his age.
He was a happy guy, and he treated everyone the same way, with kindness and respect.
However, he was not getting the same treatment in return. Rude teenagers coming in to purchase something would always admonish him to quit because “he didn’t have long to live.”
Nick became infuriated when he heard how little respect the younger generation had for the elderly. It made his blood boil to see how they treated Lloyd.
Nick saw Lloyd as a father figure, and to him, it was like his own flesh and blood was being attacked.
The last straw came when one woman couldn’t stop lambasting Lloyd.
This time, it had gone too far. The whole store came to a standstill as they watched the scene unfold.
An irate woman had just pushed her cart with full force to Lloyd’s till. It was here where the trouble started.
“You still here, old man? I’m surprised they keep you on. You’re so slow. I need these items today, please. Try your best.” Lloyd just gave his signature smile and began to ring up the woman’s items.
Her loud voice naturally drew a crowd, and it was exactly what she wanted.
It seemed like she had some kind of grudge against Lloyd or elderly people. She would not stop with her snide remarks towards him.
“When did it become okay for slow old people to take jobs away from young, energetic people who are struggling to find work in this day and age? Do you think that’s okay, old man?”
Drawing A Crowd
By now, a considerable number of people had come closer to listen to what was going on.
Some people had their phones out, recording the scene the woman was making.
Lloyd just went on ringing up the items one by one while the woman continued spewing hateful comments. He was a nice guy, but everyone could see he was hurting.
Nick’s Blood Boiled
Nick watched the scene unfold from a distance, his blood boiling with anger. He couldn’t understand why someone would treat Lloyd with such disrespect.
He had seen Lloyd work tirelessly for years, always with a smile on his face, and it was infuriating to witness this tirade against him.
He needed to do something about it.
As the woman continued her verbal assault on Lloyd, Nick decided he couldn’t stand by any longer.
He knew it was against store policy to confront a customer, but he couldn’t let this injustice continue.
He walked briskly towards the scene, determined to put an end to the woman’s cruel words. No one else was doing anything about either, so it was up to him.
Interrupting the Tirade
“Excuse me, Ma’am,” Nick said firmly, stepping between the irate customer and Lloyd.
“I understand you might be in a hurry, but there’s no need to speak to our employees in such a disrespectful manner.”
Lloyd looked up from what he was doing, looking very grateful that Nick stepped in to do something about the woman.
The woman’s face turned beet red, and for a moment, there was a shocked silence in the store.
The customers who had been watching the scene unfold were now focused on Nick and the irate customer.
Nick waited. This woman was clearly going to let him have it as well. She looked like the type that didn’t like to be put in her place, and if she was, she was going to tear into you.
The Woman’s Reaction
The woman, realizing she was no longer the center of attention, stammered for a moment before responding with defiance.
“And who might you be?” she asked, looking very annoyed that someone had come to Lloyd’s defense
Nick showed her his badge without saying a word. “Floor manager, huh? So you are responsible for putting this old fossil on the till? You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Nick took a deep breath, maintaining his composure. “I understand your frustration, but there’s no need for rudeness. We’re here to assist you. If you have a complaint, you can address it with me or our customer service desk, but you will not disrespect our employees.”
The woman was taken aback. She never expected someone to intervene.
“Well, someone had to say it! This old man is holding up the line. I have places to be. Why don’t you hire younger people?”
A Murmured Agreement
The customers in the store began to murmur in agreement with Nick’s words.
They had witnessed Lloyd’s kind and patient demeanor over the years, and many of them had come to appreciate his presence in the store.
But Nick could sense that there was much more to this woman’s angry outburst. She was bitter about something.
Store Manager’s Arrival
Just as the situation seemed to be defusing, the store manager, Mr. Johnson, arrived on the scene, alerted by the commotion.
He had a reputation for being strict but fair.
Mr. Johnson’s stern voice cut through the tension. “What’s going on here?” he demanded. Everyone turned to see the manager standing there, looking at the scene before him.
Explaining the Situation
Nick quickly explained the situation, recounting the woman’s disrespectful behavior towards Lloyd.
He emphasized that he had intervened to protect the employee and maintain a respectful atmosphere in the store.
“Mr. Johnson, she clearly has some grudge against the store, and she’s taking it out on Lloyd. I won’t stand for it any longer. Lloyd is my friend.”
The Truth Comes Out
After listening to both sides, Mr. Johnson turned to the irate customer and said, “Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to either treat our employees with respect or leave the store.”
And then the real story was made public when the angry woman blurted out,
“I want to know why my son didn’t get a job here, but you gave a job to this old man. My son is 22 years old, he deserves a chance.”
The store fell into a heavy silence as the woman’s confession hung in the air.
Nick exchanged a bewildered glance with Lloyd. It was now clear that her anger had nothing to do with the speed of service or any other trivial matter.
She was upset because her son had been denied a job at Walmart, and she was venting her frustration on Lloyd.
A Hard Worker
Mr. Johnson, maintaining his professionalism, responded calmly, “I understand your concern, but our hiring decisions are based on qualifications and experience. We don’t discriminate based on age. Lloyd has been a valuable asset to our team.”
The woman huffed, still fuming but realizing she was not getting the sympathy she had hoped for.
“Well, my son is a hard worker. He deserves a chance!” she repeated.
A Lesson in Respect
Nick couldn’t help but step in again. “Ma’am, we appreciate your son’s interest in working here, but we have a policy of treating all employees with respect. If you or your son have concerns about the hiring process, there are proper channels to address them. Yelling at an employee won’t change anything.”
The woman’s face turned redder, and she seemed to be at a loss for words.
The customers who had been observing the entire spectacle were now shaking their heads in disapproval.
The Woman’s Departure
Realizing that she was unlikely to get the reaction she wanted, the woman finally huffed, “Fine! But I’ll be writing a letter to corporate about this!”
With that, she hastily pushed her cart away and stormed out of the store.
The tension that had gripped the scene began to dissipate, and customers returned to their shopping.
Lloyd, still shaken by the ordeal, looked at Nick with gratitude in his eyes.
“Thank you, Nick. You didn’t have to do that, but I appreciate it.”
Nick patted Lloyd on the shoulder. “Lloyd, you’re like family to me. I won’t stand by and let anyone disrespect you, especially for something as unjust as this.”
Mr. Johnson’s Approval
Mr. Johnson, who had been observing the entire situation, nodded approvingly. “Nick, you handled that well. It’s important to stand up for our employees when they’re treated unfairly. And Lloyd, keep up the good work.”
The rest of the day passed without further incident, and Lloyd continued to ring up customers with his signature smile.
The customers who had witnessed the scene showed their support by choosing to go through his checkout line.
The Next Day
The next day, as Nick walked into the store, he noticed a letter addressed to him on his desk. It was from the woman who had caused the scene the day before. Curious, he opened it and began to read.
In the letter, she expressed regret for her behavior and acknowledged that she had let her frustration cloud her judgment. She also mentioned that she had a conversation with her son about patience and the importance of earning opportunities through hard work.
She thanked Nick for his intervention and promised to treat employees with respect in the future.
A Sense of Closure
Nick couldn’t help but smile as he finished reading the letter. It was a small victory, but it felt like a step in the right direction.
Perhaps, in the end, the irate customer had learned a valuable lesson about respect and empathy, and Lloyd could continue working with the dignity he deserved.
He would even contact the woman back and put in a good word for her son with management. To him, it costs nothing to be kind.
This story was handcrafted with love by a creative novelist to thrill and entertain, mirroring real-life situations to awaken your imagination and evoke profound emotions. All events, places, and characters are products of the author’s imagination, and all images and videos are used for illustrative purposes only. We hope you enjoyed reading it just as much as we enjoyed writing it!