Dressed in my white polo shirt, black pants, and my red smock, I was ready for my first day as a fashion's worker. I had been working on a register for over two weeks when they decided that I was ready to work on the floor.

I remember the feeling of excitement because this was something new, and nervousness because I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't even know whom I would be working with. So many thoughts came floating into my head as I walked from my car to the store.

"What if they don't like me? What if I can't handle this job? Will I remember everything?"

With my mind filled with all these what if's, I walked back to the break room, punched in, and put my purse in my locker. Then, with my shaking hands and upset stomach, I walked back to the front of the store and met with Theresa at the service desk.

"Hi, Kayli. How are you?"

"Pretty good, you?"

"Fine, thanks. I think we are going to have you work with Vicki today. So let's take a walk back to the men's department, and she can get you trained in."

"Okay," I replied with nervousness.

Walking for what seemed like eternity, we finally reached our destination. She came bouncing out of receiving with a lighthearted walk and a brilliant white smile.

We must have caught her a little off guard because she stopped, stared at us for a moment, and said, "Hi Theresa!"

"Hey, Vicki! I'd like you to meet Kayli. She is going to be working with you for the next couple of weeks."

"Hi, Kayli," she replied with more enthusiasm than I had expected.

"Well I'll leave it up to you, Vick." Theresa happily replied, then turned and walked away.

I expected the usual uncomfortable silence that always happens when two strangers meet and are supposed to be friends right away, but I was wrong. She was very comfortable to be around and easy to talk to.

I started to relax and act like my usual self. I even found myself trusting her right away, not a normal thing for me. She seemed to be very interested in my life and the things that I was into. She was all about getting to know the real me, inside and out.

I can't really pick out one specific moment that made me realize Vicki was such an inspiring person; I just had the feeling that she really cared.

That day I ended up learning more than just the tasks of a fashion's worker. I learned to trust again, to love life a little more, and to just be me. She has taught me that it was okay to be me, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Copyright © 2004 Kayli Smith