Normally before vacation, I pack and unpack. I rehearse exotic languages. I google and read books.
Not this time.
This time my 12-year-old daughter and I, with my traveling companion, will head to Paris for the day Saturday and then Russia for a week.
Today we had a lil “come to Jesus” meeting about her room. And she was told to clean it before we started packing. My plan was to get her packed (after seven years of summer camp, she got this) and take her for a one mile or so walk around the neighborhood as training for navigating airports and subway stations.
She organized her bags like a trooper. And then I asked her to pull our travel paperwork. Money, passports, notarized documents from her father saying she could travel with me, vaccination records…
“Mommy, your passport isn’t here.”
We checked my purse, the car, ripped the drawers out of furniture. I checked under the bed. I checked lunch boxes.
I had it out to use it as identification when I needed fingerprints last week, for my position as a graduate assistant at West Chester University. I called the fingerprint office.
After an hour of ransacking my house, my friend reminds me that we stopped at the grocery store 15 miles from my house so she could buy sesame oil.
I call them. A nice young man named Jeff tells me they have a passport and he thinks it’s mine.
I drive out.
This story ran on the front page of The Bethlehem News in 2006 after Wegmans had made the Forbes list of the 100 best places to work. Again. They always end up on this list. As a fan of Wegmans, I thought I’d do a feature. In ran in all of the Lehigh Valley News Group papers. I wrote the story, took the photos and did the artistic lay out. (Really how artistic can you get with so many columns and rules. I tried.)
In recent days, I’ve noticed lists circulating the internet of why Wegmans is basically a Play Place for grown-ups. I’ve noticed that most of my friends do the bulk of their shopping at Wegmans. People meet at Wegmans. They get coffee at Wegmans. They drool at the cheese at Wegmans. So, why?
For me, it’s a combination of customer service and the goods they carry. When my daughter was two, I tripped and fell in the parking lot of the Wegmans pictured in this story. I’m a clutz. It happens. I got my kid and my groceries into the car. Turned on the car. My arm was killing me. I had fallen on my elbow. The air conditioner whooshed on. I started to black out. At that exact moment, my phone rang.
I couldn’t see. I rummaged through my purse with my hand. Found it. Somehow answered it. It was my friend, Gayle. I told her what had happened and that I thought I was passing out. She called Wegmans. I managed to get out of the car. That’s when a Wegmans “Helping Hands” cart attendant found me, and a manager right behind him. They brought me and my daughter and my groceries back into the store. My in-laws came to get us. They asked if I needed anything. I said no.
My daughter asked for ice cream, but no one heard her. If they had, the staff probably would have given some to her.