These days, my family and I live in Riverside, IL. Not many people are familiar with the Chicago suburb and always want to know how we picked it. The short answer is that my wife grew up here; and then there are the great schools, curvy streets, gas lamps and huge old trees.
But most will agree, there’s something else special about Riverside. It’s not always easy to describe to outsiders. But this past weekend, I experienced something that was too good not to put into words.
Sunday morning we were hosting an informal brunch. As usual, we were hurriedly getting ready, trying to balance home, kids, and selves. I needed to make a quick run to our local grocery store, Riverside Foods, and of course my little bud Jonathan (my 2 year old son) wanted in on that trip. With 15 minutes to go until guests arrive, I ran out the door in a hurry.
About halfway through my store excursion, at the pastry counter, I realized I had left my wallet at home. After thinking for a second, I remembered our emergency credit card in the car, so I ran out and grabbed that. Once my $27 bill was wrung-up, I swiped the emergency card only to discover it had expired. Shoot!
I explained what was happening to the cashier, and asked if I could call home to get my debit card number from my wife, and have him punch it in. Before he could answer, the woman behind me chimed-in and said “I’ll pay for your groceries”. She was completely sincere and adamant about it, knowing what it would take to collect my 2 year old, put him back in the car, go home, get my wallet, and then come back.
I was completely overcome by the gesture – I told her how appreciative I was, and then the clerk chimed in asking me for the number. The woman was still insisting on paying; I thanked her for the very kind gesture, but let her know we had it taken care of. I couldn’t believe how nice she was.
On my way out of the store, we passed by our local girl scouts troop selling cookies. I regretfully explained that I’d love to buy a box or two, but actually left my wallet at home, so it would have to wait until next time.
To my surprise, they said another patron had paid for a box and told them to give it away to someone – and offered it to us! Jonathan was ecstatic to pick out his box of cookies, and we thanked them for the generosity.
We then made our way to the car, I loaded up the stuff and Jonathan, and as I was about to return my cart when a woman insisted on taking it back for me on her way to return her own cart. WOW! So many nice, kind gestures in a mere 15 minute run to the store. It really left me feeling grateful for my neighborhood.
I’ve always known that I love living in Riverside, but for many intangible feelings that you can’t always explain to people. I hope that my clients feel the same way about the neighborhoods they choose to live in, be it Riverside IL or anywhere else in Chicago.