I am not much of a shopper. I enjoy it once in a while, but going out to “shop” is a rare event for me, and that was the case even before COVID hit. But there was one day I went to the outlet mall around the holidays. I went straight to Coach and began what for me was the equivalent of a shopping spree.

There were some beautiful handbags and wallets, that I thought would make fun Christmas gifts. Once I started picking things out, one thing led to the next. I started trying on shoes, jackets, even picked out a key ring and an umbrella!

Since I don’t really take the time to shop this was a treat for me to just kind of “go with it” and have fun in the process. I was not in a hurry, was chatting with others in the store and making some lovely selections.

As I sat on a bench in the back of the store to try on some sneakers (which I bought and still love) I overheard a woman’s voice from behind my right shoulder.

Shopper: “I need to buy a wallet…my niece died in September and she loved Coach bags. Her mom gave one of her bags to me and I would like to buy a matching wallet. I have never been here before or had a Coach purse or wallet, can you help?”

Sales Associate: “Sure! Let me show you what we have.”

The shopper’s words caught my attention probably because my daughter died in September also (1997) and I was moved by the idea that she had one of the bag’s belonging to her niece.

Having grasped at anything possible to stay close to my own loved ones who’ve died, I understood the need to feel connected through something tangible (like a piece of clothing, a blanket or yes, even a wallet.). I was elated by the idea that the shopper’s heart would be comforted by carrying her niece’s bag and a new wallet.

I was facing the back of the store which was all mirrors and I could easily now also see the woman as she was speaking. My heart went out to her knowing what courage it took for her to share her experience of loss with a stranger(s), and I was rooting for her to find the perfect one!

The shopper’s conversation with the sales associate eventually moved to cost. Coach items are not cheap, even on the clearance table. It became clear that money was an issue as the shopper looked in the different sections of wallets priced low to high. There came a point where she seemed to be concluding they were all just too expensive.

I got an idea! I asked a sales associate to help me, told her I wanted to request a favor…

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