Wednesday, July 12, 2006

things that make one smile

It was lunchtime and I was busy working. After a few days off, it felt as though I had never left and I was trapped in the office. 'Enough of this drudgery' I thought, 'they may take my soul but they don't own my lunch-time'.

The man who works in the Italian café where I buy my salad and americano makes me smile. Today when it was my turn in the queue, he gave me a big smile and with a swish of his long ponytail he said, 'ciao bella, what can I do for you? Do you want to have your salad here or take it away?'

I smiled at him, in spite of myself and said, 'take it away, but do you have any salad dressings?'

He came out from the counter and searched the fridge and said, 'sorry that we run out, I get one especially for you' and he smiled at me.

As I paid, the lady who manages the till and usually looks unhappy was smiling as the Barista made my coffee and I noticed the newspaper photographs of the Italian team taped to the side of the machine.

'Maybe it isn't so bad that Italy won' I thought, 'even if they didn't deserve to'. Then I thought, 'just as well I didn't say that aloud, they might kick me out of here'. They are very proud people working in my coffee shop, and they have commented to me about customers before, 'He's rude' they have said, and I have nodded.

The man came back with my salad dressing and said, 'there you go bella, enjoy'.

I couldn't help but smile all the way down the road. Even the Big Issue seller gave me a nod, and Dublin seemed like an alright place to be.

I sometimes think that there's something unique and special about that kind of fleeting little rapport. It does make you think the world is a nicer place for a little while.

Not only being on the receiving end, but dishing it out gives you a warm glow. I like men who call you "mate" and women who call you "love", and people behind counters who connect with their customers as human beings. I always try to do that when I'm serving people. It's funny the way you can make a friendly remark to a customer and he or she looks at you as if you'd been invisible before.
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