In a world where technology practically runs our daily lives and dictates what we do on a 24/7 cycle, sometimes it’s great to unplug.
One woman shopping at Walmart was asked to look away from her phone for a short time, and ended up learning a valuable lesson.
When 85-year-old Walmart employee “Mr. Billie” asked her to come talk to him, the woman was at first put off. What she ended up learning about the man during a brief conversation provided some perspective.
Technology – our phones and laptops – can bring knowledge to our fingertips, but it can’t teach us to take time for our fellow man, to invest our efforts in the people we see nearly every day, or guide us on how to interact with our folks around us.
Here is the lesson that woman learned that day, and all it took was a little bit of time from her day …
Woman Takes Time to Talk to Veteran At Walmart – And Learned a Valuable Lesson
Yesterday, I went to a Walmart I go to regularly and saw a man I see there often.
Mr. Billie had been moved from a greeter in the front of the store to a stool in the back of the store in the electronic section. I just happened to be waiting in line, mindlessly on my phone of course, when he motioned me over. He gave me a sticker and sang me a little song. Then he began to talk to me.
At first, I was thinking about how I might lose my spot in line, but I decided to settle in and talk to Mr. Billie. I’m so glad I did!
I learned that Mr. Billie is an 85-year-old man, who is married. Both he and his wife work. I learned he is concerned about losing his job because he enjoys it and doesn’t want his wife to have to support them. I learned that he served our country in the Air Force for 8+ years, and he can tell you how many months and days. I learned he was the only one of 15 children to graduate high school, not because he was smart but because he was lucky.
I learned his second cousin was Brigadier General Chuck Yeagar, the man who broke the sound barrier. I learned that Mr. Billie was in Alaska when it became a state and he remembers the flag being raised for the first time at the fort he was stationed. I watched as countless veterans came by to greet him, and Mr. Billie stood to salute them. We talked about how electronics are going to be the death of family histories being passed down.
He remembers sitting around the fireplace with his parents and siblings and them sharing stories of their lives. We don’t do that anymore. I learned that although they didn’t really talk about it, he believes his daddy was militia, not formal military. I learned about him being afraid to dance while he was stationed in California, even though they offered professional dance lessons. I learned that he had 2 children, and he lost his son several years ago.
He told me I was the prettiest girl in the whole store, not to ever stop smiling, and that I light up the room.
It was the best 30 minutes I’ve spent in a long time! Mr Billie reminded me to slow down, get off my phone, and invest in someone else.
What a wonderful story!
Other readers on social media seemed to concur with the charm of this Air Force veteran.
“Mr. Billie is the best,” one person responded. “When my oldest daughter was very little, she loved going to this WM just so he would sing and give her a sticker.”
She called him, “Such a kind-hearted soul, and one of a kind.”
Do you take the time to talk to people around you – especially veterans – like Mr. Billie? Tell us your story below!