Of Lilies, Roses and Humanity

This is a very personal story. The sequence of events that I am about to describe have forever changed my life and I feel a compelling duty to share my tale! For I have become the recipient of such an incredible act of kindness — I cannot remain silent. The joy and humility that I feel in my heart make me believe that mankind has a bright and beautiful future. Stories like this not only make this world a better place but give the moments that are worth living for…

A couple of weeks ago I had the misfortune of fainting — for the first time in my life and quite suddenly. I was shopping at Waitrose while visiting my son in Glasgow and here it happened. I found myself on the floor at the checkout, just as I was about to pay for my groceries.

When I opened my eyes I saw several members of staff and the Store Manager trying to make me feel better. I rejected their offer to call an ambulance and received a level of care that went beyond all my expectations. They gave me a bottle of water, plenty of support and were ready to call a taxi. The water as well as all the care and attention made me feel better and I was keen to get back home. As I was about to leave the branch, accompanied by several members of staff to ensure I was well enough to go, my bags of shopping were brought to me. I was trying to say that I did not pay for that but my protestation was rejected and the Store Manager insisted that I was to take the bags gratis. I was too weak to argue and in fact I was hardly able to make sense of what was happening. I just took the bags and, in the company of my son, proceeded to his flat — just around the corner.

Only the following day I gradually started regaining my intellect and my first thought was “Oh dear! I did not pay for all those groceries”. I did not know what to do. My son said to me that he was also insisting on paying but they were too worried about my well-being to care for the money. I felt it was all wrong and I also was extremely grateful to Waitrose for the way they handled the whole situation. I might have ended up in the A&E but instead was given everything that I needed to make my way back to the flat where I rested and started feeling much better. They may have saved my life!

Overwhelmed by gratitude and keen to pay the bill I wrote a letter to the Store Manager of that branch of Waitrose on Byres Road — offering to pay and extending my gratitude. The reply I received was so kind and caring. It was all about my health and assurance that I was too ill to pay and they just wanted to help and they just wanted me to get better and well again. They asked me to forget about the bill and not to think about it. Just to focus on the recovery.

However, this is not the end of the story!

Last Sunday a box arrived at my son’s door. At first we could not imagine that it would be for us — we did not order anything to be expecting such a grand parcel…

Eventually he realised that the box was for us (as it had our address on it). He took it in and we opened it… This is what we found inside… And a card…

To say I was touched would be a gross understatement. I was speechless! I still am!

I do not think I deserve this all! This is far too kind!

But it has brought tears of joy to my face! Joy and Humility. For while I was thinking of how to settle the bill and repay the gratitude — this has arrived and taught me a lesson. Not everything can be re-paid.

How can I re-pay for the happiness that I feel every time I look at this stunning bouquet?

How can one measure the goodness that I feel towards the wonderful team of people who work at Waitrose & Partners on Byres Road — led by the Best Store Manager in the world!

Here comes the humility — I am forever in debt! I will have to spend the rest of my life doing only good things and helping others however I can. Thus trying to contribute to humanity — taking after the example set by the wonderful members of staff and the Store Manager at Waitrose of Byres Road in Glasgow!

I can but thank them from the bottom of my heart and share the photos of the “Roses and Lilies” bouquet — that same bouquet that works better than any medicine and that is so special and precious! I cherish its presence in my room and the thoughts it inspires!

With my humble gratitude… And I wish I was a better photographer to give these flowers the credit they deserve…

With all my love — Liudmila Tomanek, a humble Russian translator…

P.S. I also published this story as a LinkedIn article:



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