Panic attacks are frightening. Just ask anyone who has experienced one – – especially for the very first time.
Over in the UK this past weekend, Helen Martin was doing some grocery shopping at a Sainsbury’s store with her daughter Cordelia (known as Cordie) – – who struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. At the root of Cordie’s fear is alarms going off in public places. It’s a phobia that goes back to a fire alarm test at a store a few years ago. It traumatized her. So, when the store lights dimmed this past Sunday (signalling the store was about to close) Cordie panicked.
And that’s when a compassionate, understanding cashier stepped up. Says Helen: The lady working at the checkout could see something was wrong as I was trying to comfort her to allow me enough time to pay for the shopping. I explained the problem and how the lights dimming had caused her to panic and she was just so lovely. She came around the checkout and asked my daughter to help her scan the shopping, coaxed her into her seat whilst we dried her tears and completely distracted her by letting her scan all the food. I cannot tell you how much this meant to me and my daughter. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion that she managed to turn such a negative experience into such a lovely one. My Daughter actually left smiling and was so proud of herself.
In the excitement and chaos of the moment, Cordie’s mom didn’t get the cashier’s name. However, mom and daughter returned to Sainsbury’s the following day to be reunited with Tina.
What a great story, huh? Are YOU prepared to deal with someone’s panic attack? (Hint: Be like Tina!)