To The Cashier Who Unknowingly Saved My Life, Thank You

Photo: Dean Drobot / shutterstock
cashier who saved my life

By Adele Espy

Thank you for making small talk with your customers.

For being a first-line worker, coming in contact with so many people during this pandemic.

Thank you for being someone — and maybe the only someone — another person talks to all day because they are immunocompromised and can’t socialize.

I know it may sound silly to you, but a grocery store cashier saved my life.

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I was planning to die by suicide. I’ve had enough of the pain and torture of living with complex PTSD, OCD, anxiety, depression and so many other physical ailments that I can’t even list.

I was in chronic pain, I was lonely, tormented by nightmares of abuse that happened as a child, I was tense, and wanted relief.

The only way I could see that all ending is if I took my life.

But that day, as I sluggishly walked the aisles, and then bought a bag of potato chips and soda, you looked me in the eyes, and asked, “How are you doing?”

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You probably didn’t really care for the truth, so I didn’t divulge.

But I was in such a dark and depressing place that it took me a minute to accept the kindness you were offering.

Nevertheless, once it hit me that people do care, for a moment I remembered all those things I didn’t think of before.

I remembered that my family would have been sad if I died.

I remembered all the things I wouldn’t have been able to do.

And that shift in perspective was enough to convince me to live another day.

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I felt seen by another human being. I felt cared about, and less alone.

In that moment, I was being witnessed, and someone I didn’t even know cared enough to talk with me.

They didn’t know I was in a dark spot, but they didn’t need to.

I had been dissociated and moving about unconsciously, until this cashier saw me as a person, and reality hit, and I sunk back into my body.

And I realized, I’m not the only one who gets hurt if I end my life. I felt connected to something bigger than just me.

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Nobody knows the impact they have on another person, unless you tell them.

Your words do matter. Your words can be powerful, so use them wisely.

One of you saved my life, so I am grateful for all of you — especially these days.

Thank you,

A pleased customer

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, it is important to seek help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text “HOME” to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

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Adele Espy is a writer who focuses on topics of health and wellness, sexuality, and self-care. Visit her author profile on Unwritten for more.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.