He walked back into the store, hoping his change of clothes didn’t smell like smoke.
The other members of his team followed close behind. They grabbed carts and tried to finish what they had started. But, one staff member came up and said, “I’m sorry, but you need to put that back.”
Samuel and the rest of the crew shared a special bond that only firefighters can know.
Not only did they work together, but during their shift, they did everything else as a team. He opened their designated fridge and frowned. They were going to have to go shopping together as well.
It was the start of a 48-hour shift and they would need to stock their cubbies and shelves with whatever would keep them going while they were on duty.
Staying in uniform, they jumped in their fire engine and headed to the supermarket. Another all-too-common event was also about to happen.
Samuel and his friends quietly chuckled as people stared at them while they grabbed their carts – some wondering if there was a fire nearby.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a middle-aged man glaring at them. He leaned and grumbled to his wife. Sadly another common reaction
“I’m not paying taxes for these guys to do their errands.”
“They should be on call to put out fires, not buying hotdogs. And why the hell are we buying their food for them?” Samuel could see his coworkers roll their eyes. It was a common misconception people had about their line of work.
What people don’t realize is that, while on their 24 or 48-hour shifts, they are constantly together. But, that means they also need to do errands together. There’s no time (or point) in shopping ahead of time. Also, all food bills come out of their own pocket.
A loud beep came from their speakers. They had to leave.
It was the signal there was a fire. A crackly voice on the other end gave them the details and they jumped into the engine, leaving their carts and shopping behind. This was normal – a firefighter’s life.
No matter what, they had to drop what they were doing. Samuel pulled on his gear as the siren’s blared.
Every call could be a hard one, and none are “easy” but thankfully this call was just a small fire with no real damage and zero injuries.
They put out the flames, climbed back into their fire engine and drove back to the supermarket. What they didn’t know, was something surprising was waiting for them.
They walked back in, ready to fill their carts again, but a staff member came over and stopped them.
“We saved your things,” she said. His crew gave smiles and sighs of relief – it would save them an extra hour or so and that was always welcome. But, that wasn’t all.
When the carts came out from the back room, he saw how everything was already in bags.
There was also more than they had originally put it. On top of it all, there was a single piece of lined paper with a single, heartwarming sentence that tugged at their hearts.
An anonymous citizen had paid for everything and left a note saying, “Thank you for all that you do.”
It was such a stark contrast to what the other man had grumbled about. It turns out another shopper had overhead and was very upset at the lack of gratitude. The staff also did their part…
They packed everything up and kept it all in the back fridge so nothing spoiled and things were ready for the team to take back to the station.
As the team drove back, enjoying the warmth of the amazing gesture, Samuel jumped on social media.
He tried to reach out to say thank you to whoever had made their day just a little easier, but the person didn’t step forward.
IT seems they did just want to do something nice and not want anything in return. Still, they hoped their gratitude reached the person. It also sparked an important conversation.
The reality of being a firefighter isn’t anything like it’s shown on TV or in the movies.
People do it because they love it – not for the money (because there’s actually very little money to be made). Some stations might get a food allowance, but it’s almost always very low. Also…
There’s the challenge of making healthy food to keep them going during the long hours and hard work, on a very small budget.
Some have to do fundraising just to keep their uniforms going. So, the next time you see the boys in red out there, think of how you can show your appreciation.