At 38, my life turned upside down. I went from being a project manager and raising three kids—Emma (15), Jack (9), and Sophie (7)—to working as a grocery store cashier. It all started when my husband James’s affair was revealed. One night, I confronted him while he stared blankly at the TV. “James, are you coming to bed?” He muttered, “In a bit,” avoiding eye contact. Eventually, he admitted to the affair, and our marriage crumbled.

The stress of the divorce impacted my work, leading to a sharp decline in my performance. Despite my manager Lisa’s sympathy, I was let go. Financial strain mounted as I struggled to find a new job. Desperate, I took a cashier position at a local grocery store. The job allowed me to be present for my children, attending school events and helping with homework.

One day, an entitled customer in designer clothes challenged my composure. She criticized my lack of a smile and made demeaning comments about my job. Her child accidentally tipped over the cart, spilling expensive groceries. As she berated her children, her card was declined repeatedly. The situation escalated until her husband arrived, berating them further. Through it all, I stayed calm and professional.

Mr. Adams, my manager, praised my composure. I left work that day, eager to join my kids for a pizza party, embracing the small joys amidst life’s challenges.

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