A man came in to return a PS3 game system the other day. I asked him the standard question, “Is there anything wrong with it?” He looked so upset and dissapointed I was sure the answer would be yes. But he told me he and his wife had bought it for their son, but he passed away. He said they’d set it up in the living room, but couldn’t bear to look at it and neither of them would attempt to play it. I was floored. His reply was so unexpected I didn’t know what to say.
I wondered what had happened to his son. Was he in a car accident? Did he commit suicide? Did he die of a terminal illness and this was their way of easing his final days? I wanted to say something comforting. When I recovered from my surprise, I said the usual things. “I’m so sorry”. “How awful for you”. But his face told me there would never, ever be the right words to erase his pain. I started to feel myself tearing up so I turned my head and forced myself to get a grip, but I know he saw me. All I could think was that I have three kids and I would never want to be the one returning an used PS3.