He emerged from a small booth wrapped in flannel and wool which protected him from the twenty degree early morning cold. His greeting was friendly and the worn, deep lines on his face indicated years of hard work and perhaps advanced age. After pumping my gas, he smiled kindly and wished me a good day. I detected a European accent in his low voice and wondered where he emigrated from. On this frigid New England morning, my soul was profoundly warmed by the kindness and work ethic of a total stranger.
As I pushed my cart around the empty grocery store at 7 am this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the friendly demeanor of the employees despite the cold and darkness outside. These men and women of various ages and ethic backgrounds seemed happy to be working hard on a myriad of tasks that most of us would gripe about – stocking shelves, cleaning floors and checking out shoppers. Finishing up, I gazed at the woman checking me out to say hello and noticed her badge “20 years.” I was struck by this elderly woman’s years of service in a job which is both taxing and tough for someone her age. But her resolve was peaceful and friendly. I even overheard her kindly advise the customer in front of me to “get some sleep before your next job.” Obviously this man was a regular who came in after his night shift to buy sustenance in preparation for his other job. This woman showed him attention and true kindness – virtues that are needed in our busy lives.
Waking up today, I could not have imagined that by 8 am on a Monday morning I would have been so moved by hard working folks in my own community. Despite the frigid New England morning, these people modeled something special that is missing in our world today – a positive attitude and a hearty work ethic.
The men and women I met today are a wonderful example for all of us: from teenage workers to folks serving in the highest offices in the land. No matter what your job, ALWAYS have a kind and positive attitude toward everyone you work with and be grateful for the opportunity to work hard in this great country.
Perhaps we can all grow a little stronger in the virtues of kindness and hard work this week. Let’s learn from those we interact with on a daily basis – those in our communities (coffee shops, stores, gas stations, etc.) and homes. Let’s give folks our undivided attention when we speak with them (avoid looking at your phone) and thank them for a job well done. When we do, our hearts will be filled with goodness that’s worth sharing again and again.