One of my greater flaws is that I have difficulty being nice to customers who, due to the nature of their trip or condition, cost me time (and thus money). I'm able to do it, but it's an internal struggle. Those who need extra assistance probably should be the ones who naturally bring out my friendly and cheerful side. But that's not the case.

The old woman is beyond infirm. She's dying—her body is clearly and simply shutting down. She has problems with her foot, her eyes, her ears, her osteoporosis, her scoliosis. It took her 10 minutes to get from the restaurant into the car with her walker.

It takes her another dozen minutes with my help to get from the car to her front door. I take deep breaths and think of my mother, and what I'd want for her. The woman's wrists are too weak, so I need to work the locks and open the doors.

After a real effort, I'm able to get the front door open. I'm bombarded by the stale smell of decay. I notice that the door was difficult to open because it was blocked by a foot-high pile of junk mail. Everything's in disarray—there are stacks of documents, clothes, and dishes everywhere. Perspective hits.

I help her in, and ask if she needs anything else. She says that she doesn't, so I get back in my car and book in.

I take deep breaths, and think about my mother.