Some of you may have heard me talking about a fairly infamous volunteer at a certain site I go to to distribute groceries. She's a rather old, fragile looking lady named Trudy, who (to quote a seasoned volunteer) "ain't happy if she ain't bitchin'."
Last month, Trudy gave me the business, so to speak, when I attempted to take a finished bag off the assembly line and put it on the table for the completed bags. She blustered over in her signature purple wind pants and got in my face, screaming that I "had to put the bag right back where it was this instant". Basically, Trudy was/is so controlling, that they had to give her one thing to have complete control over, or she'd try to make herself queen of the brown bag. That thing is the monthly newsletters, and when she caught me putting a newsletter in a bag for her, It was like I tried to steal her livelihood.
I found out later that she thought I was a stupid high school-er who didn't know anything, which fueled her lashing out. Weird!
So needless to say, we didn't get off on the best foot. Getting screeched at in the face will do that to a first impression. I also noticed that the other volunteers give Trudy and her newsletters a good 5 foot berth while she works on folding them.
Then today, almost everybody was surprised and impressed when Trudy asked for help with her precious paper work. It turns out that they were putting Christmas cards in with each newsletter, and she needed help folding the cards into the creased "Brown Bag Beats."
The cards were really nice, each one different, blank inside with matching envelopes. It was the gift of being able to wish somebody else a Merry Christmas. I mentioned to the site coordinator how nice I thought it was that they were giving out these cards.
"Oh, you know that was all Trudy's idea. We had been doing it the last five years or so, and I only just found last month that she had been buying all the cards for the Brown Bag out of her own pocket."
I suddenly became aware that the reason Trudy wears those purple wind pants every month wasn't just because they were her signature look, it was also because they were her only pair of pants.
It really made me see another side of this cantankerous old biddie. She bought everybody in town who needed these free groceries a Christmas card. In my eyes, it was like she went through the Grinch's heart x-ray machine.
I guess it was a lesson on open-mindedness and the duality of nature. No doubt Trudy will be back to her newsletter dictatorship in January, but it was nice to see her caring side and Christmas cheer.
I meet such weird people doing this job....