Finding Everything You Need, When You Need It Most

Laura Myer and her husband are lifelong Westporters. Her husband’s family has been here seemingly forever — they were potato and onion farmers in the 1800s.

Seven years ago he retired — reluctantly — from the Westport Fire Department. He’d been diagnosed with malignant ocular melanoma, and had his eye removed to help prevent the spread of cancer.

A few days ago, the Myers learned that the cancer has metastasized. Surgery would be necessary — Christmas week — to help rid him of the tumors.

Just hours after learning of the planned surgery, Laura was at Trader Joe’s. Christmas music — cheery and uplifting to most people — jingled from the speakers.

Quietly, Laura wept.

“I tried to maintain composure,” she says. “But these songs that form our life soundtrack began to italicize what was impending.” She thought of Christmases past — and wondered, would there be a Christmas future together with the love of her life?

With great effort she pulled herself together, and joined the checkout line.

“I thought I was doing okay at that moment,” she recalls. “When the clerk asked me if I had found everything I needed today, I said I found everything I needed that could be found at Trader Joe’s.”

He packed her last bag. Then he handed her a bouquet of flowers. “These are for you,” he said simply.

“You cannot imagine how a small, unexpected act of kindness from a stranger can affect you until it happens,” Laura says.

“He did not ask me what was wrong. But I found myself blurting out, ‘My husband has cancer.'”

He asked for her husband’s name, and promised to offer a prayer. Laura thanked him, walked out, got into her car, and sobbed.

Customer service, Laura says, is related to corporate culture. She’s always found folks at Trader Joe’s to be cheerful and helpful — genuinely, not just for show.

“This gentleman was not a friend, not a relative, not an eminent physician,” she says.

“But he gave me a very special moment of hope when I had none. That is nothing less than extraordinary.

“And yes. I found most everything I needed that day at Trader Joe’s.”

12 responses to “Finding Everything You Need, When You Need It Most

  1. My heart goes out to Laura and her husband. Thank you, Dan, for sharing this touching story. I love the folks at TraderJoes!

  2. Hard to read this story with tearing up. What a good reminder of the importance of doing unselfish acts. Sometimes we need angels; other times, we are called to be angels. Prayers for Laura and her husband.

  3. The Myers will be in our thoughts and I know the collective prayers of the 06880 family

    I wish I knew how TJ’s finds these people. It seems when they swing their feet off the bed everyday and on to the floor they simply make the choice to be “nice”. I need to do that more.

    BTW: contrast that to the people behind the deli counter at Stop and Shop. They seem to make the exact opposite choice.

    Hang in there Laura.

  4. Loretta Hallock

    We will pray for you and your family. Your husband is one of the nicest people that I have ever met.

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with Laura, J, Frostie, and Mister.
    There are many in the Westport community that are here to help you.
    Please do not hestiate to ask.
    Thank You Trader Joe’s for setting a standard for others to follow.

  6. Ampico Chickering

    Like so many others, my heart and prayers go out to Laura and James Myer – James is like a true Boy Scout, who helps when people are in trouble on the side of the road, fixes things for people who are not able to, while Laura shares her knowledge and expertise to help others with problems. They do these things without being preachy or judgmental about others – I want so much for there to be a fine miracle for them, and that others will be moved to do some random acts themselves. ,

  7. Prayers for Laura and her husband.
    As for the folks at Trader Joe’s, I just wanted to tell you many times after a bad day at work I walked in there and you are so incredibly nice and positive you just make my day. Sometimes I say to myself “I should just quit my job and come work here”?

  8. Trader Joe’s could not buy PR like that for a million dollars. They have great employees.

    • And a corporate culture that empowers employees to be more than cogs in an impersonal machine. Best of luck to the Myerses.

  9. Thanks for sharing that beautiful story and making my day. We have to remember that little things can make a big difference to someone.

  10. Virginia Gilbertie


  11. Jim Meyer is a world class individual who has always answered the call from the family we call Westporters- firefighter, police officer, animal caregiver,
    husband and father, Jim has and deserves our love, and thoughts at this time and all times….
    ron malone