“Hi, Bob!”

The “new normal” created by the coronavirus has created stress and worry among us all.  But there are these little moments that make us laugh just to let us know that things are going to be okay.

This past Saturday, Hazel and I did not want to cook.  Since it was a sunny day with very low humidity, I suggested that I run down to Publix and get a box is their fried chicken, some southern style potato salad, and baked beans so that we could just picnic at the table with the umbrella out on the back deck.  The leftovers would provide us with another meal the next day so we would not have to cook on Fathers’ Day.  Hazel loved the idea and soon, with my face mask in hand, I was on my way to “bag” our dinner.

Before entering the store, I donned my mask and entered Publix on my hunt for the perfect bird.  I greeted the young lady cleaning carts and thanked her for her dedication to us during this time.  As I approached the deli counter, I was overjoyed to see plenty of eight-piece boxes of chicken.  The young man behind the counter proudly explained, “You are in luck, Sir.  We just put the fried chicken out fresh five minutes ago.”  I thanked him and selected a box that seemed perfect for our meal.  The potato salad and baked beans were in the cold storage bin right behind me so my hunt for our meal was quickly completed and I was headed to the express lane to pay for my prey – proud of the 21st-century hunter I had become.

An older gentleman (probable my age but I am not old) with a mask on was paying for his purchases as I took my position at the “social distancing” line on the floor.  I noticed he squinted his eyes when he saw me and suddenly, his eyes told me he was smiling.  “Hi, Bob!” he said with glee, “I bet you thought I would not recognize you behind that mask.”

I laughed, “So, how have you been doing?”

“Oh, as well as expected.  You take care,” he said as he picked up his groceries and headed for the door.

I walked to the counter, put my food on the conveyor belt, and told the young girl behind at the register, “I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I am not Bob.”

I did not know you could laugh your mask off!


Len Bernat
Len Bernat
LEN is a leader groomed by 20 years of molding and shaping by some of the finest leaders in the United States Marine Corps. Their guidance helped Len realize his full potential as he moved from an enlisted Marine to becoming an Officer of Marines. Len became known for being the leader who could turn any lackluster organization into a strong, functional unit. Upon his retirement, Len worked in several positions before finally starting a second career in governmental procurement. His experience and leadership skills enabled him to be recognized as the 2011 Governmental Procurement Officer of the Year for the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia and opened doors for him to teach at many of the association’s conferences. Len was also called to the ministry and was ordained at Ashford Memorial Methodist Church in November of 1999. Today, Len is the Pastor of Maxeys Christian Church in Maxeys, Georgia. Len has been married to his wife, Hazel, for 36 years and they have three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Grab your copy of Len's new Book – Leadership Matters | Advice From A Career USMC Officer. Using his life experiences as examples, Len takes the eleven principles of leadership and the fourteen traits every leader should possess—which he learned during twenty years in the Marine Corps—and teaches the reader how he was molded and shaped by some of the best leaders the Corps had to offer.

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  1. A lighter moment indeed; Thanks, Len Sir, for this little, cute piece of humor!
    I guess it is yet another benefit of the raging pandemic that we can compensate for someone else in sharpening people’s skills. Bob or no Bob, you sure made the day for this ‘older gentleman.’

    Thanks once again, With Warm Regards, and A Prayer For All


    • Bharat – It was simply a kindness that was needed and gave me joy to play along to make another person feel good. We all need more kindness in our lives – both in giving and receiving. Thank you for your kind comment.