Hugging Strangers In The Grocery Store

We were four unlikely people to be standing in a grocery store hugging on a wet and cold winter’s day.

Friday started early and I had been on the go since the morning and needed to get home to make supper for my family. I had to pick Mom up along the way and thought her and I would scoot quickly into the grocery store, grab a few things, and I would be home in a jiffy.

“Cindy, when you pick me up would you like to come in for a minute?” Mom asked me over the phone.

I pulled up to the bungalow where Mom had been invited to a friend’s home to have Christmas tea with several other ladies her age. Mom is in her seventies, and I am entirely convinced this is the best age group to be in, especially if you attend a church. The ladies in her church seem to continually be carpooling to social events, nights filled with music, or lunch out together.


Forget the teenage years, those look boring compared to the age group of these lovely ladies. They have time for relationships and people. Or maybe because they are older and wiser they have realized the ones they love come ahead of their planned out days.

The hostess of the tea party, Carol, greets me with a hug and invites me to come in and see her beautifully decorated Christmas house. It felt like stepping into Pinterest Christmas Heaven. Red, green, gold and silver decorations were carefully spread throughout her adorable and cozy home.


Carol’s lovely hostess spirit is what captured my heart the most. She hugged us all before we left and I felt like a child wanting to skip all the way to my car after experiencing the sweet Christmas spirit of friendship.

Mom and I scooted to the grocery store and went our separate ways to do some shopping and planned to meet up when we were done. I came across a lady I recognized from the other grocery store I shopped at since she was a cashier. I had seen her there for nineteen years, and she was always so sweet and kind. But I didn’t really know her well since there is often a line up of people behind me, wanting to hurry and get on with their day.  I stopped today to take the time to talk to her and get to know her bit.

Quickly, I found out she had a passion for God too, and we talked about our families, faith, and life in general. My mom finally found me behind the display, after she had been looking for ten minutes, and she joined in on the conversation. The cashier said she stayed at her job all these years because she loves her customers, and would be sad to not see them each week. I was touched by her compassion for others.

I mentioned to her of a man who shops at her store regularly and how he and I always chat. I’ll call him Charlie. He’s old enough to be my father, and I have never seen his eyes since he has sunglasses on. Charlie is a people lover. But folks tend to shy away from him since he is overly joyful and friendly. He is also missing his teeth.

A few weeks ago Charlie and I were talking about all the violence in the world, and he said to me, “People need to quit fighting, the world needs more peace. Why are we hurting each other?” He held up the charm on his necklace which was a peace symbol, and I looked up at his face and thought to myself, “This man has a lot to offer people.”

I have often wondered if Charlie is an angel in disguise. He makes me feel loved every time I talk to him, and he genuinely cares about people.

Sometimes I scurry through my day with my eyes straight ahead and forget to look around and see if there is someone who needs a moment of my time or a little tender-loving-care.  I am guilty of being focused on my to-do-list instead of people.


The cashier said she has met so many different people over the years and sometimes she will ask people who look sad if they want a hug. She confessed she was a hugger.

Two young men were stocking shelves behind us and had been listening to our conversation. When the cashier asked for a hug, which I was delighted to give, one of the young men pipped up and said he was a hugger too!

Mom turned to him cheerfully and said, “I’m a grandma, so I’ll give you a hug.” He seemed quite happy that a white-haired-grandmother gave him a squeeze: almost as delighted as a young man having a beautiful twenty-year-old girl giving him a hug. Probably because Mom had taken the time to make him feel special.


There we were, four strangers, hugging in the grocery store on a gloomy winter’s day.

We eventually said our goodbyes and paid for our groceries and Mom I were on our way again. I dropped her off and drove home with uplifted spirits.

I walked in the door at the end of my day, after being gone for many hours and shared these lovely stories with my family…then I ordered pizza.

This unusual winter’s day was a reminder of how I can be driven by the tasks I have lined up in the morning, and forget that people need someone to listen, and maybe a hug to let them know I care. Have you ever had one of those days too, where you stopped to talk to a stranger and left blessed?

Yesterday, God taught me a simple lesson: most of my tasks can wait a moment while I take the time to give someone a little love.

Consider hugging someone today or stopping to show you care. We never know if we might be entertaining an angel and are the ones who are being blessedđź’—

Believing and hoping,

Cindy Seatonđź’—



Author: cindyseaton69

I am the author of Beauty From Ashes: A Mother's Journey from Bitterness to Hope.

11 thoughts

  1. While I think it’s a lovely idea, I’m afraid the thought of hugging strangers is making me sweat just reading about it. I’m a selective hugger, it’s just the way I am

  2. Love the way to put up hugging as one of the easy and very personal way to show love and happiness…..sure we need lots of hugs between us in days of such hatred throughout the world…

    1. Thank you Anindya for the lovely comment and reminding others to be kind. We do need more love and less hatred!

  3. I think acknowledging people is so important – even eye contact and a nod. You just don’t know what people are going through and maybe they just need someone to see them. I loved the post and yes to hugging and being open to people.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I like that-“acknowledging people” even though we don’t know what people are going through, such a wise thought!

  4. I am right with you here! So important to recognise everyone – and I hope I teach my kids this (although the eldest is not a hugger) – and be able to offer empathy, a shoulder, a touch on the arm or a full on hug. The Christmas decor sounds wonderful!

    1. Claire my kids aren’t huggers either, even though I am but like your desire, I also wanted them to be empathetic. The decor was amazing, like nothing I had ever seen!

  5. I loved this post! A very heart warming story how a relationship can go beyond even with strangers. A love spent with others is a love that should be celebrated everyday in our lives.

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