Even from many feet away – I was at one end of the grocery aisle and she was at the other end – I could tell she was chic and elegant and the most beautiful woman I had seen in quite some time.

It was a cold winter day and I had been in no mood for grocery shopping but suddenly I felt grateful to be in the store and standing in the same aisle as this woman.

She walked regally down the aisle and was wearing black dress pants in a current style, black boots with 2″ spiky heels and an elegant long winter coat. She was slim and her posture was perfect.

She was very tall, perhaps 6 feet tall or more in her heels.

Her all-white hair was stunning.

White as in gray, that is. Not platinum blond.

Oh and she carried a sleek black cane that she used for support when necessary.

She was 80-years-old or so.

As she passed by she made eye contact with both of my young daughters and smiled at them as if she was completely delighted to see them.

Then she looked at me and gave me a “way to go mom!” type of smile.

No words were exchanged between us but my spirits were lifted on that cold day and I could tell this is a woman I would love to know for more than the one minute I was granted in her presence.

After she passed by I turned around and stared at her for several seconds.

All kinds of questions raced through my mind and I longed to know some of her story.

Why was she wearing heels when she was using a cane?

Why did she need a cane?

What was she like when she was younger (chic and elegant, I bet)?

I was sure she had raised children because only a mom would smile at me and my kids the way she did.

There are many people who know this woman by name, know her so well. To me she is just the “chic and elegant woman at the grocery store” yet her impression will be a lasting one.

I want to be like her when I’m that age, not just chic and elegant, but encouraging toward strangers.

When I find myself slouching I sometimes think of her and start sitting up straighter.

When I feel lazy about doing yoga or other exercise I sometimes think of her (as well as other inspiring elderly woman I’ve known) and get off my duff and exercise.

Today, thanks to social media and the internet, we have access to more strangers than ever.

At any given time you might be creating a lasting story for someone without realizing it. Maybe in a video, a blog post, an email, a phone conversation… or just in the way you stroll down the grocery story aisle.


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Filed under: Stories/Storytelling


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