There is this mean-looking guy who works at my local grocery store. He works in the produce department and mainly works the evening shift which is usually when I go grocery shopping. He’s probably in this late 40’s and has a lot of tattoos all over his arms. He’s a little shorter than me & not a very big man so he doesn’t look menacing or anything like that. At first glance he appears to be very “scruffy looking” and just not the type of person you’d want stacking the same fruit that you’ll eventually be putting in your mouth. He never looks up and when I look at him he doesn’t crack a smile, let alone speak. He is definitely not the poster boy for customer service.
I’ve asked him for assistance once or twice before – mainly to find out when the new fruit would be unloaded or to figure out which fruit is currently in season – and he was pretty curt with me every time. I’ve never done anything to him & felt like the way he spoke to me was rude enough to bring it to his manager’s attention.
Last week I was in the grocery store picking out my usual assortment of fruits for my smoothies when there he was – the rude produce guy. When I looked at him to see if he was going to snub me for no reason, I was surprised to hear him greet me. Over a mound of oranges, he actually spoke to me. I couldn’t believe it! Was he talking to someone else around me? Nope he sure wasn’t, he was talking to me! After I said hello back I told him how taken aback I was by his greeting to which he explained that he hadn’t been himself in a while and was just now starting to feel better.
At this point in the conversation, I’m intrigued and want to know exactly what he’s talking about. It turns out that his mother recently passed and he was grieving her greatly. He went on to say that he just couldn’t seem to get past it and was doing the best he could just to show up at work every day and to keep himself together. He said he wasn’t a mean person by nature but he had no reason to smile since his mother died. Then he flashed me the biggest smile I’ve ever seen in a grocery store!
Boy, did I feel bad! Here I thought that he was a disgruntled fruit-man who hated his job, hated his life and could go “postal” at any moment. Clearly I was wrong. He was just a man that missed his mother. His rough exterior was a mere facade for the pain he was feeling on the inside. You can’t fault anyone for that.
The moral of this story is that you can never judge a book by its cover. You never know who is going through something so be nice to as many people as you can!
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short – enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t worry, God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
*Composed by Regina Brett (Cleveland, OH)