One of my clients who has short-term memory issues requested that I take him to McDonalds for lunch. Trying to allow him to exercise as much independence as possible, I stood off to the side as he placed his order. When the cashier asked him what kind of drink he wanted, my client took off walking to the soda fountain, leaving a line of hungry customers waiting. I went over to my client and explained to him that he had not completed his order and accompanied him back to the cashier. I believe that he was oblivious to the stares and glares of the customers in line but I wasn’t.

When I take my mother to the store for our weekly outings, she likes to pay with cash. With her arthritic fingers, I watch her slowly unfold the dollar bills that she has pulled from her bosom. The cashiers are usually patient, but some of the other customers in line sometimes express their dissatisfaction with a roll of their eyes and a scowl.

But, occasionally, someone makes eye contact with me and gives me a nod and compassionate smile. That one smile seems to make all of the disapproving scowls worth it. I understand that life can keep us quite busy and pressed for time but let’s try to give more nods and compassionate smiles.