"Bring a Little Sunshine"

a Mission Monday story from Altar’D State

A few weeks ago, a woman named Roberta and her sister, Debbie, came into Altar’D State. Roberta was looking for an outfit to wear to a rehearsal dinner. Debbie was wearing a hat and had a mask over her face. I commented on what a beautiful day it was to be out and about.

I got to know Roberta and Debbie a little more and found out that Debbie had just come from chemotherapy treatment and wasn’t feeling up to trying anything on. As she watched her sister, Debbie began to relax in our fitting room area.  She commented on a few of the items that Roberta was trying on, and I was finally able to encourage her to try on a grey dress she kept mentioning she liked. She tried it on and liked it, but thought at that particular time in her life she needed a little color. With a few words of encouragement, Debbie trusted me to find some clothes she could feel beautiful in.

With each outfit Debbie’s confidence grew, and she started having a lot of fun! I kept finding outfits for Debbie, and Roberta kept thanking me for encouraging her. She believed it was going to make Debbie’s day! When Debbie tried on an ivory dress with bright flowers all over it, her face lit up! We paired a navy slip underneath it, and she fell in love. This was it! She picked out shoes, jewelry, the whole outfit. The sisters were in the store for almost two hours having  a blast! Helping Debbie feel beautiful really brought joy to her day. It was truly something she didn’t expected when she walked into our store.

I wanted to write Debbie a thank you card with some words of encouragement, but we grew busy, and I didn’t get the chance to write it that day. I thought about it almost every day after, hoping they would come back in so I could give her a little note! I was so excited when Roberta eventually came back. I asked her how Debbie was doing, and she thanked me for asking. Debbie was doing OK, but she still had a long road ahead of her…8 more treatments! Roberta told me after their first visit to our store, she and Debbie had spent the rest of their drive home talking about how much fun they had.

I wanted to give Debbie something a little more, so I bought her a Giving key with the word “Strength”on it. I wrapped it up neatly and finally got to put my note in the bag with it. The front of the card said “You got this girl!”…fitting for what road lay ahead. As I handed Roberta her bag, along with the bag for Debbie, she immediately teared up and thanked me over and over again. I said, “No, thank you! Thank you for bringing purpose to my job!” I gave her a big hug, and she said she couldn’t wait to give Debbie her gift.

Every week that Debbie has treatment, she and Roberta stop in and see us. They say it’s the highlight of their week! I’ve developed a really special relationship with Debbie and Roberta. Thanks to Mission Monday, I had the privilege of presenting a Compassion Bag to Roberta on behalf of her sister, Debbie, who is still in treatment and wasn’t up to shopping that day.

These experiences truly make my day and give me a great sense of purpose every time I am working with guests. You never know who’s day you might turn around just by engaging in a little conversation.