Monday, February 15, 2010

Johnny the Bagger

This blog is a story taken from John Ortberg's book, "When the game is over IT ALL GOES BACK IN THE BOX" May you be blessed by it as much as I was.

Let me tell you one of my favorite stories of someone searching for a mission...the story of Johnny the bagger.
Johnny works at a grocery store. One day he went to a training event led by a speaker named Barbara Glanz. She was talking to 3,000 front line workers for a supermarket chain--truck drivers, cashiers and stockers.
Barbara was speaking on how people can make a difference....Isn't that what we are about at Quarry Rock? She described how every interaction with another person is a chance to create a memory, to bless some one's life. She talked about how important it is to look for those moments. She placed on the walls, as she always does when she speaks, posters with inspiring sayings. She told some stories and then went home, but she left her phone number behind. She invited the people at the conference to give her a call if they wanted to talk more about something she said.
About a month later, Barbara received a call from one of the people at that session, a 19 year old baggger named Johnny. Johnny proudly informed her that he had down syndrome, and then he told her his story.
"Barbara, I liked what you talked about. But I didn't think I could do anything special for our customers. After all, I'm just a bagger." Then he had an idea: he decided that every night when he came home from work, he would find a "thought for the day" for his next shift. It would be something positive, some reminder of how good it was to be alive, or how much people matter, or how many gifts we are surrounded by. If he couldn't find one, he would make one up.
Every night his dad would help him enter the saying six times on a page on the computer; then Johnny would print 50 pages. He would take a pair of scissors and carefully cut 300 copies and sign every one.
Johnny put the stack of pages next to him while he worked. Each time he finished bagging some one's groceries, he would put his saying on top of the last bag. Then he would stop what he was doing, look the person straight in the eye, and say, "I've put a great saying in your bag. I hope it helps you have a good day. Thanks for coming here."
A month later, the store manager called Barbara. "Barbara, you won't believe what's happening here. I was making my rounds, and when I got up to the cashiers, the line at Johnny's checkout was three times longer than anyone else's. It went all the way down the frozen food aisle."
The manager got on the loudspeaker to get more checkout lines open, but he couldn't get any of the customers to move. They said, "That's okay. We'll wait. We want to be in Johnny's line." One woman came up to him and grabbed his hand, saying, "I used to shop in your store once a week. Now I come in every time I go by--I want to get Johnny's thought for the day." Johnny is doing more than filling bags with groceries; he is filling lives with hope.
My prayer is this: Lord, may everyone who reads these words realize the potential they have to impact some one's life in a positive and eternal way. Lord help us to speak words of encouragement. When we think something good, God help us to say it. You can be a difference maker and a world changer right where you are. Go for it!!


Pastor Rev. Ray E. Owens said...

Great Story

Denae said...

My employer uses this story to motivate us calling it our "Purple Cow". Great to read it again.