I have just returned from a supermarket run. I went to the new store (that is now a year or more old) that I can reach by traveling northward, more or less along the top of the ridge instead of having to go all the way down the valley and back up. The views during the drive are beautiful and I love the store. Everybody loves this store. The employees are all . . . not just professionally helpful, but genuinely friendly. Whenever I leave after finishing the shopping I feel as if I've spent time with friends. It's a nice feeling.
One hot day last summer I said to the young man who was checking out my order, and with whom, during our interaction, I'd exchanged opinions of the brand of gelato I'd bought, "Now, if only I had trained the dogs to help me carry all of this into the house!"
"For fifty bucks, I'll do it," he said. I looked at him and he looked back, his blue eyes unusually direct and penetrating for a kid still in high school. He was perfectly serious, and had I been feeling flush, I might have taken him up on his proposal, if only to encourage his ambition. I came home and told Husband about this young man, who reminded me of the way young males were when I was in my teens. It seemed like everybody (except The Rich Kids and The Protected Kids) had part-time jobs after school and on weekends, and everybody was eager to do any kind of work for a few dollars.
I know this sounds like those "five miles to school every day and uphill both ways" stories, but it's true. As soon as we looked responsible enough to be paid for doing something we all had paper routes or regular babysitting jobs.
Today, a different young man (sporting a hopeful yet skimpy soul patch on his lower lip) was checking out my order and upholding the store's Friendly Employee reputation when Serious Blue Eyes came by, a big hank of keys in his hand.
"Hey, how's it goin'," he said to his fellow red shirt. "How'd you like to cash out and do a bottle drop for me?"
"Love to," said Soul Patch.
"Great. And then you can go on break."
"Okay!" said Soul Patch.
Serious Blue Eyes has been promoted from checkout clerk to shift supervisor or whatever title this store's system gives the lackeys who rank just above the clerks. I am so pleased. I am pleased that there are still young people who take an interest in doing well at their jobs. I am pleased that those young people are recognized and given more responsibility.
I feel so good.
I am so glad I went to that store today.
Sometimes I find the greatest pleasures in the most commonplace activities.
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