(Minghui.org) I started practicing Falun Dafa in 1998 and moved from China to the U.K. in 2007. Two and a half years ago, I answered an ad and found a job at a Chinese-style bakery not far from where I live. Working there during the pandemic has given me the perfect opportunity to clarify the truth and cultivate myself.
Getting Rid of Selfish Notions
When the pandemic broke out in early 2020, we were no longer allowed to maintain our truth-clarification booth at a local tourist attraction. The bakery where I worked also had to close temporarily, and I suddenly had a lot of free time. I became more active on the RTC platform making truth-clarification phone calls to China and helping get those new to the platform up to speed. My days were busy but rewarding.
One day toward the end of May, the owner of the bakery called and asked if I could go back to work even though nobody else was. I said, “Don’t worry. I will help you through this difficult time.” He was very touched and promised to give me a raise.
As a cultivator, I know to always consider others first. I couldn’t take advantage of his situation, so I said, “You don’t need to pay me extra. Just pay me what you were paying me before. I don’t know how well the business is doing given the circumstances. I don’t want you to lose money.” The owner said, “I’m so glad you think that way. I’ll pay you 100 Euro a day. Since you’ll be the only person manning the store, you’ll be working long hours without many breaks.”
I went back to work at the beginning of June. Business was better than I thought it would be, and the customers kept me busy. To accommodate the demand, the owner increased the store’s hours several times. At first, I only worked three days a week, then four. A few days later, he adjusted it again to five days a week. And the hours got longer and longer. I even worked two six-day weeks.
I didn’t mind it so much the first couple of times the owner increased the hours. However, when he did it again, then again, it bothered me. I looked inward for the root cause of my negative feeling—it was resentment. I felt that work was taking up too much of my time. I was exhausted from working long hours five or six days a week.
But wasn’t all this coming from my selfish notions? In fact, each time the owner adjusted the hours, he always ran it by me and made sure I was okay with it. If I agreed, I should keep my word and do a good job. Once I realized this, I felt at peace.
The Bakery Becomes My Truth-Clarification Platform
I didn’t think much about it when I agreed to go back to work—I was not scared of contracting the virus and I wanted to help out my employer. It was a simple decision.
After working at the bakery by myself for a few days, I saw a golden opportunity. I was there all by myself and only one customer was allowed in at a time. Wasn’t this the perfect setting to clarify the truth one-on-one? Back when several people were working at the store, I never had the chance to talk to the customers about Dafa. My co-workers would get annoyed if I spent even a little bit more time chatting with a customer.
This precious opportunity was hard to come by. I prepared English and Chinese truth-clarification fliers and started giving them out to the customers. When friendly English speakers came in, I gave them fliers in English. If a customer looked Asian, I’d find out where they were from first. If they were from China, I tried to start a conversation before giving them a booklet about the pandemic or a copy of Minghui International. Most accepted them and thanked me.
To be honest, I had concerns about giving out fliers to the customers, because I didn’t have the owner’s permission. We have security cameras installed all over the store, including one that points directly at the cash register. The owner should have noticed. This concern brought a xinxing test.
A customer with a Fujian (a southern province in China) accent came in one day. When I rang him up, I gave him a truth-clarification booklet. He flipped through the pages and asked, “What is this?” I told him it was about Falun Dafa and his expression darkened. He threw the booklet on the counter and said, “You’re against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Do you know where I work?” I asked him where and he showed me his badge—it seemed like he worked for a British government agency.
After he left, I started to worry and wondered if he was going to complain to the owner. I caught myself right away and immediately started eliminating the thought: “I am not scared. I am doing the right thing.”
I soon gave away all my fliers and booklets.
Promoting the Epoch Times
Local practitioners dropped off free copies of Epoch Times special editions on top of the Chinese newspaper box just outside the bakery. They are a great resource for people to learn about the origin of COVID and the truth about Dafa. But I couldn’t bring these papers into the store. What should I do?
I had an idea one day: “I’ll just tell people about the papers.” What a great idea! I came up with a few simple sentences introducing the Epoch Times and had another practitioner translate them into English for me. Whenever English-speaking customers came in, I told them about our newspaper and told them where to get a copy.
Most people were happy to take the papers. After grabbing a copy, some gave me a thumbs up as they walked by the bakery, and some waved their copy at me as if they were saying, “Thank you.” When customers took the wrong paper, I took them back to the box and showed them the Epoch Times special editions. At least two dozen customers took the papers each day.
I couldn’t think of a good way to clarify the truth to Chinese customers now that I was out of fliers. I always had this concern that I didn’t have enough time to clarify the truth to the customers. From the time they enter the store, make a selection, and pay, most customers only take a few minutes. That is not enough time to clarify the truth in depth.
A chatty Chinese man came in one day. When I rang him up, I thought about clarifying the truth to him but couldn’t come up with a clever way to start. The man left after paying. Disappointed with myself, I turned to Master for help. “Please help me, Master. Please give me wisdom.”
With Master’s help, I had an idea. I used the talking point “Health and safety are the most important things during the pandemic” to start a conversation and clarify the truth. I also asked people from China to quit the CCP and its youth organizations. In the following days, I talked to every single customer that came into the store. All that talking left my mouth dry by the end of the day.
But one day, I suddenly stopped. I didn’t feel like talking to the customers or clarifying the truth to them. I realized it was interference—the evil didn’t want me to open my mouth and save people. I couldn’t let it have its way. I readjusted myself and started talking to people again.
During the five weeks that I worked alone at the bakery, I helped more than a dozen customers quit the Party and its youth organizations.
Clarifying the Truth to the Owner of the Bakery
A variant of the COVID virus was detected in the U.K. in January 2021. My co-workers got worried and again asked for time off. They were firm and left the owner high and dry. The owner was disappointed and angry. I understood why he felt that way—he had to pay over 3,000 Euro every month in rent regardless. If the bakery was closed, he still had to pay the rent and that would be a tremendous financial loss.
The owner asked if I could work more hours like last time. I told him, “Don’t worry. I will help you.” He was relieved and said he’d pay me 100 Euro a day like before. I kindly turned down the offer, “Thank you. But business has been very slow in the past few weeks. We’ve lost almost 30 percent of our sales. I am not sure how we’ll do if we stay open.” The owner was grateful that I had the bakery’s best interest in mind. He said, “You’re the only person helping me. During these hard times, you are the only person I can count on.”
I spent more time with the owner over the next two months and got to know him better. While chatting with him I clarified the truth to him and told him about Dafa. He said, “When you first started working here, someone told me that you practiced Falun Dafa. My response was, ‘So what?’ But I didn’t expect you, the Falun Dafa practitioner, to stick around and help me through these tough times. You’re a good person and you take money very lightly.”
Every time the owner complimented me, I reminded myself that I was not there to validate myself but to validate the Fa. I told him, “It is all because I practice Falun Dafa. Falun Dafa taught me to follow the universal principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and to be a good person. It taught me to always consider others first.”
The owner didn’t agree with everything I told him about Dafa. He thought I was nice because I was just a good person by nature. He thought that way because his knowledge about Dafa was very limited. However, he told me on several occasions that he was not against any religion, implying that he was not against Falun Dafa. I wrote a letter to the owner in which I told him how I was harassed in China because of my faith. After reading it, he told me, “I believe you. My father was a business owner in Shanghai, and the CCP ransacked our home.”
I had given copies of this letter to several co-workers when I first started working there, but I didn’t have the courage to give a copy to the owner. I decided to get over my fear. I wanted the owner to know how evil the CCP is. I wanted him to learn the truth surrounding the persecution and how much Dafa practitioners have suffered.
I asked the owner once how he felt about me leaving some Dafa fliers on the counter. He said, “Work is work. Let’s not make it too complicated. But I am okay with you telling people about it.” I understood that he had concerns. At least he was okay with me talking to customers about Dafa.
“I Appreciate You. You Have Helped Me Through Rough Times.”
The owner was hospitalized. I told him I’d do my best to hold down the fort at the bakery and wished him a swift recovery. On my way home that day, I thought about the owner being in his 70s and having battled cancer for more than a decade. Despite his poor health, he worked so hard on his business. I cried thinking of the many battles he faced in life. I felt sorry for him. Taking care of the bakery was only helping him with business, but telling him the truth about Dafa was saving this being and leading him to a bright future.
I sent the owner Wish, a song written by a practitioner, and the links to Master’s Fa lectures. I suggested that he give them a listen and told him how Dafa had spread far and wide in China before the persecution. After listening to the song, he told me it was pretty. He also listened to Master’s Fa lectures three times and said that Master was well-spoken.
I often thought about how I was meant to work at this bakery, not just to make money, but also to connect with and tell predestined people the truth about Dafa. How do I help them learn the truth about Dafa? I believe the best way is to pay attention to my words and deeds while interacting with others and do honest and solid work. Ordinary people may not read Zhuan Falun, but they can learn about Dafa from our behavior.
The owner hired two helpers later on and put me in charge of training them. While chatting with him one time, he told me, “I appreciate you. You have helped me through rough times. I don’t want to keep any of the experienced employees. They are too smart for their own good. They never consider others when things get tough. I trust you to manage this store from now on.”
I told the owner, “The manager is very capable. She can be a big help in many areas. The other two employees are experienced and know what they are doing. Keeping them will save you a lot of time and resources.”
Resolving My Resentment for a Co-worker
The owner called me one day about two months later, “The manager wants to come back to work. I want to know what you think.” I told him, “Sir, you should do what you think is right. I respect your decision no matter what.” To be honest, I didn’t want to be the manager. It didn’t bother me in the least that the manager was coming back.
Our store hours gradually returned to normal in the next two months. Another two months later, the manager quit because of a disagreement with the owner. There were five us left—two experienced employees, two new hires, and me. As I took on the role of manager, many of my deeply buried human notions surfaced. They were exposed as I worked alongside the others, especially the two experienced co-workers.
From the time I started at the bakery, I worked hard and didn’t care about personal gain. I am friendly with my co-workers and get along well with others. When conflicts arose occasionally, I worked through them by looking inward and examining myself.
But there was this one older lady from Malaysia who never seemed to like me. She always complained about me and accused me of doing things wrong. She talked to me in a condescending way and liked to say, “You made me so mad I could die.” Some days I made her angry enough to “die” multiple times a day. Working the same shift with her was a pain.
This Malaysian lady doesn’t like dealing with problems and evades responsibility whenever possible. She carefully guards her own interests. After I started working there, she always suspected that I told on her to the manager and thus she disliked me. She also had a bad relationship with the former manager.
She is very domineering, but because everyone else was more experienced, she was very careful around them. She often said, “I just endure it for the paycheck.” But she liked to take it out on me because I was new. Although I never started an argument with her, I had negative emotions and deeply resented her. I tried to find my attachments and get rid of them but they kept coming back from time to time.
When I became the manager, this lady’s attitude took a 180-degree turn. She asked for my opinion and permission on every little thing. When she tried to make a sale, she asked me how much to charge. Something about her just rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn’t help but snarl at her one time, “Just do what you used to do when making a sale. You and I are both employees of this store. You don’t have to check with me for every little thing.” After I blurted that out, I regretted speaking in such a harsh way.
On my way home that day, I asked myself why I had treated her like that. I found a strong attachment—revenge. I figured, “You bullied me before and gave me attitude. I wonder how you’re going to face me now.” Once I found this filthy attachment, I told myself, “I don’t want this attachment. I will eliminate it.”
I resented this lady because I had never looked at our relationship based on the Fa—yes, she might have bullied me, but nothing is without rhyme or reason according to the Fa. She treated me badly in this lifetime perhaps because I’d treated her that way in a previous life. Didn’t Master explain this Fa principle in Zhuan Falun long ago? I failed to understand it from a higher level and treated this matter like an ordinary person.
On Sundays, the employees give the owner a list of supplies and ingredients that we need so he can order them for the following week. I don’t work on Sundays so the Malaysian lady is in charge of making the list. She often made mistakes and the owner was not happy about it. After the owner talked to her, she became even more flustered.
The owner called and asked me to help her. After hanging up the phone, I thought, “I do have a better idea of what we need by the end of the week. Why didn’t I offer to help her? I could show her how I tally up inventory and come up with the list. Am I holding a grudge and still resent her?” I also realized that I wasn’t doing my best at work—I still had this selfish thought that, if I didn’t have to make the list, I’d have one less thing to worry about. It should be my job to make the list. I have since helped the lady make the list every week.
I only work three days a week so the Malaysian lady is responsible for cashing out the register on my days off. The owner showed her a few times but she still made mistakes frequently. The owner asked me to show her again. I taught her some techniques and tricks that I learned. She now makes far fewer errors.
Through cultivating myself, I feel that the substance of resentment has become less. I am now more considerate of her.
Cultivating Myself As the Store Manager
Besides the Malaysian lady, there is another co-worker who has worked at the bakery for 13 years, longer than the rest of us. She often gives me orders and bosses me around.
We have a storage unit about 10 yards away from our retail store. Before, when we needed to replenish something at the store, the male co-worker from the kitchen always got it for us. But the few times when he was off and we needed something, none of us knew where or how to get things from the storage.
So I told the group, “To make it more convenient to replenish inventory, everyone should know how to access the storage unit.” After my suggestion, everybody learned how to retrieve things from the storage, except for this employee who didn’t make any effort whatsoever. It really bothered me at first. But when I gave it more thought, I realized I needed to eliminate my attachment to wanting everyone to listen to me. In fact, it doesn’t make any difference if this employee knows where the storage is and how to get things from it.
Ordinary people have a saying, “Three women create a drama.” There are five women who work at the bakery and there are frequent xinxing tests. In order to handle them well, I need to become more humble and increase my tolerance. I should not show off and try to validate myself in front of others just because the owner trusts me. When I truly achieve this, it becomes easier to pass the tests.
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