I was in a pharmacy yesterday one that would be getting people who have just been through the Adelaide hills Fires and I went there to put my dollars into a community that will need as much support as they can get over the next couple of years.
I put my script in and went to look at stuff I won’t buy but looks really pretty, smells delightful and I overheard a customer service person ask the next customer how she was going, as a matter of course. There was more customer service people in the shop than customers (2 of us) and I overheard the customer respond with “I don’t know what to get I’ve been burnt out.”
I turned to look and the customer service girl responded with “oh, Ok you are free to browse, if you need anything just ask.” She turned and went back to chatting to her counterpart. I was taken aback – here was a woman who was asked how she was going and her response was one I wasn’t expecting and to have it brushed off, was awful. The woman stood there hanging onto a cane in one had and one of those silly prescription baskets in the other, she took small steps towards an aisle so I approached her.
I apologised to her for overhearing and I said “I hope you didn’t lose too much, are you and your family ok? ” She looked at me and said “we lost everything except the house, we lost our vineyard, our stored wine, cars, sheds and our livelihood. ” I put my arms around her and said how sorry I was for her. We both cried for a few minutes until she started laughing, I walked her to the waiting chairs and I asked her about it.
She is in her 70’s, her husband in his late 70’s and the business was all gone, her son and his family had taken over running it years ago and had done an amazing job (so she told me) and she admitted she didn’t think she had it in her to start all over again and I was the first person she voiced it out loud to. Her husband and son were in the storage locker getting the wines out and having a wine sale, she was managing the medication side of things as she was walking with a cane as she had broken her hip 2 months before the fire following a fall.
She also talked about the 120 year old Gum tree that was burnt to the ground that was on the property before they purchased it. I listened whilst she spoke (no interruptions from me – I know right) we talked for about 40 minutes and towards the end she touched her blouse (she was very well dressed) and apologised to me as she had left the house without ironing her shirt. I laughed and said “I’ve been in a couple of fires myself and I can confidently tell you, you will probably never bother with mindless chores like ironing shirts ever again. You will find better use of your time and you know what?” she looked at me “sadly no one will ever bother to notice or comment.”
We both laughed, I offered to help her with collecting things and got a real basket and took it to the counter for her. I talked about how I have friends that are organizing a fund raiser and if there was anything I could do to assist them she could call out. All she said was “buy SA wines from the Adelaide Hills” I assured her I was already a buy Local, I Choose SA, buy South Australian Products first type of girl, then Australian Made and little after that.
We parted ways, and I was still thinking how the opportunity to talk with this lady was missed by the customer service people and if not for my own sense of community , I could have ignored her. We didn’t even share first names and I have tracked her down today via the information she gave me and given her a call to make sure she was ok and she is.
If you are looking to help them buy the wines from Adelaide Hills affected Wineries direct from this list here
This list has been compiled by my good friend Kelly Noble – Founder & Owner of Glam Adelaide who spent hours and hours reporting on the fires, creating these lists so head over to her page and like it, share it and become involved.
Kelly is also putting together a Gala Event and is looking for donated goods for silent Auction or Major fund raising item, please contact her on the face book page direct – I’ll be looking to be involved.
Picture Credit – Glam Adelaide New Era Vineyard – one of many that suffered losses