Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Happiest Person

At the grocery, there was a man who I guessed was mentally handicapped from the way he talked, walked and reacted to things. He was with a woman, and the two were probably in their late 30’s. When he was coming through the aisle, he said asked me to move and then added “I didn’t want to hit you!” and we both kind of laughed. At first I was annoyed, and it caught me a little off guard to realize that–hey, maybe that person can’t help that behavior.

Our clerk scowled and whipped each and every can of orange juice into the empty cart, almost with added emphasis. My dad asked her to please not throw in the cartons of yogurt because they would break and splatter. She set one down roughly, tossed the other in, and winged more hard things on top of them. Yes, I know clerks want to get to the next person, but this was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.

I stepped back, not wanting to be in the line of fire, and noticed that the man and woman were finishing with their order a few registers away. The clerk finished their order, took the woman’s money, but then scanned two more things on a separate order. The man watched and grinned, like these were his items.

“9.78,” the cashier said.

The woman handed him a $10 bill and the man next to her put an arm around her and, beaming, said “Thanks, sis!” He seemed so happy. Our clerk was still scowling and waited in frustration as my dad took out his wallet.

In the meantime, the man and his sister were getting ready to bag up their items, when the man turned to his own cashier and said “God bless you!”

It was really sweet, but got me thinking…Between our clerk and the man, who was the happiest and most full of life? Why do we expect it to be differently?
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