There was another piece to the story that I hadn't previously shared as it didn't have anything to do with the interaction with the woman at Starbucks. It also wasn't the most-sunshiney of stories but this one, at least, has a happy ending.
Before we had even entered the clothing section at Target, Max made a request. "Mom! If they have BFF necklaces, I have to get it!"
"I have to give one to Ellie. She's my best friend forever and I need her to know that even when we're not in the same class anymore we're still best friends."
"Well, I think she already knows that, buddy, but I get what you're saying. They may not have them here, but we can look."
But, it's Target, and Target, by blessing or curse, has every goddamn thing you might ever need or want plus everything you didn't even know you needed or wanted until you saw it with a discounted price sticker next to it.
So, of course, we found the necklaces: two hearts that fit together like puzzle pieces. One was pink and one light blue, with "best friends" printed across them. He hemmed and hawed over it for the rest of the shopping trip because it wasn't exactly the one he had pictured. But, in the end, he decided to get it because, of course he did.
We finished up shopping, paid for our things, and headed over to Starbucks. We'll just fast-forward now to sitting down with our cake pops and cappuccino and he killed me: "Mom. Let's practice. You be Ellie and I'll be Max and I'm going to give you the necklace. Pretend like you don't know I'm going to give it to you."
"Okay," I agreed. Then, acting naturally, "Doo da doo, doo, doo..."
"Hey, Ellie, it's me Max.....wait, wait, wait, start over. She'll know it's me. Okay. Hey, Ellie!"
"So, since we're best friends and all I wanted to give you this Best Friends necklace so we can both wear them and always think of each other, even if we're not in the same class or even if we don't see each other."
He handed me the pink puzzle piece necklace.
"Wow, Max! I love it! Thank you so much!"
We hugged and went back to our treats.
I suggested he wear both of the necklaces, since he had insisted on taking them out of the packaging, to keep them safe.
Awhile later, we had left Starbucks and had driven to my sister's new apartment. We were going to help her and my parents move some of her things in. After making a few trips from her car and into her new place, Max shrieked. "Mom! I lost Ellie's necklace! Look! The pink one is missing!"
I thought he was playing a joke on me but, alas, he wasn't. We looked everywhere: in the apartment, in the parking lot, around all of our cars, everywhere. He was devastated. He said that he would give her his necklace, the one that was still around his neck, but that still left him without one. I assured him that, with or without the necklace, Ellie and he would always be friends...but that doesn't help much when you've lost your brand-new Best Friend necklace.
We drove back to Target.
We looked around the parking space we had parked in, we looked in the carts in the cart corral. We went back in and looked in Starbucks, the last place we knew we had it. It was nowhere to be found. We even asked at the Customer Service desk if anyone had found it and turned it in. It was a long shot, but we had to try.
"Nope," the kid behind the desk said, after searching every drawer. "I'm really sorry, but it's not here. Want to fill out a ticket? We can give you a call if it turns up." We did, of course, but I Got Real with Max. "The chances of someone finding it and turning it in are slim, but we can hope for the best, right?"
Three nights later, at 9:15 pm, the telephone rang.
"Is this Sarah? This is Wendy from Target. We have your Best Friends Necklace here! One of our Target team members found it in one of the carts."
I love a Happy Ending.
We put it together later in the conversation, but Wendy from Target is the SAME Wendy from Target who helped me track down an elusive Ever After High doll a few weeks ago. While on the phone with me, she scoured the toy section and dug through the back room until she found the ONE Darling Charming, Dragon Games edition, the website promised was in stock.
Wendy is my Target Angel.
There is good and kindness in this world. And there are still people who put forth the extra effort for strangers in this world, too.