Monday, 20 April 2009


This report comes to you from a remote outpost in Mississauga, where a kindly librarian has set me up on the end of a busy deskful of computer terminals. In the few moments remaining before my presentation to a mass of students from local area elementary schools, I will attempt to convey my impressions of an interesting encounter at the Shell station where I bought gas and gum earlier this morning.
"Great to see you!" said the lady behind the counter.
"Uh, thanks."
"Hope you are enjoying your day. "
"Well, so far."
"That'll be 31.57. Do you want coffee or a newspaper?"
"No thanks."
"That's fine!"
I handed over my credit card.
Not much to inspire in the lady's conversation. Nor did she leave a strong physical impression. Middle aged, middle sized, medium dark hair and skin is all I can find in my memory. But emotionally, she stood out like a beacon. Her smile was wide and white. Her eyes sparkled. Her overall attitude was so positive she glowed. You'd think she was crazy, or on drugs. But she wasn't. She was just ... and this is my point ... truly happy.
You don't expect to see true happiness in the service industry. The Walmart greeter, the chain restaurant hostess, the guy at the hardware store who directs you to the aisle with drill bits ... these folks may wear smiles but the expressions don't fit very well. By contrast, my gas station lady this morning had a couture smile, made to measure, and it was with a correspondingly genuine sense of pleasure (mixed with surprise) that I exited the gas station and resumed my westward trek. Several moments later the pushme pullyou traffic eroded the effects of her happiness, and I began to feel normal -- that is, grumpy. But now, an hour later, I am reliving that moment in the gas bar with renewed enjoyment.
Thank you, whoever you are.


Marilyn said...

What is it with people who are that happy?
I think they have different brain chemistry, and see the world in a totally different way.
My sister's like that. Even her husband and daughter tell her to stop smiling. She says she can't help it, she just feels happy most of the time.

Richard Scrimger said...

What drugs is she on, and can I try some?