Mystery Banana-Man

Last week, I was at a grocery store that I frequent regularly. As I was enjoying my catch-up conversation with a lovely gal at the checkout, I noticed she looked past me and then smiled. I asked her why she smiled.

She explained to me that a man had entered the grocery store, stopped, and straightened the bananas. He then proceeded to shop. He did not buy any bananas.

Which launched us into a most refreshing conversation. As I listened to her thoughts about the banana event, she postulated that our unknown banana-man may have lived a childhood where order was important. She pondered whether he was someone who had a natural tendency to leave his surroundings better than how he had found them. All the while, I saw her delight in his almost-undetected choice to straighten the bananas.

I then chimed in that I had dressed mannequins earlier that week at a place where I was shopping. I had removed a shirt that I intended to buy and I found it fun to go and find another shirt to redress the mannequin. She laughed out loud when I confessed that I then made it my mission to check all of the mannequins in that department and dress any that had been left empty. As I left the store, I let them know what I had done, and I was pleasantly surprised when their response was, “You need to shop here more often.”

Both the mystery banana-man and my decision to dress the mannequins stayed in my thoughts. I began to think about how we all notice various organic, unorthodox, helpful ways to better our surroundings, but too often hesitate in doing so. Now, I can anticipate your possible rebuttal. Will we offend the store owner? Maybe. But, the benefits far outweigh the risks especially if you are upfront and gracious about your intentions and actions.

The way I see it, my little part adds to your little part. There is something that makes the soul come alive when we care without receipt. Meaning, we just give, with no strings attached and without hope for any recognition. 

One time, I saw profanity written in a place where kids walked by every day to school. I stopped to check the white paint color and concluded that I had a close paint match at home. I went home to get it and painted over those words, I reverse-graffitied! It took me maybe 20 minutes tops.

As we think about ways to bless others this fresh year, maybe we could make a more significant impact through smaller means? Perhaps we could be the mystery man or woman that is noticed by others unaware? Maybe after we’ve left an environment, our imprint continues to give via the anonymous calling card of our actions.

Banana-man keep going! I will probably never know who you are, but you added some brightness to a rainy Sunday afternoon for at least two people.

about the author...Cece Traywick’s voice is one of encouragement. She is a speaker and teacher in various venues, wife to Joey Traywick, and proud mom to their three kids. She has yet to meet a stranger.