“Oh I’ve already done that.” “Whoa really? We just started 5 minutes ago!”
“Sorry, I’ve got kids.” “Oh sorry, I didn’t notice the double stroller that you’re pushing around.”
“Oh, sorry, I think I’m in a hurry.” “Oh sorry, I THINK I’ll talk to you later then.”
“I’m a local.” “Oh hey, so am I!”
“No, I’m not from around here.” “Oh hey, neither am I!”
“I’m sick of you guys!” “Oh hey, I’m sick of me too!”
“Oh, it’s too hot (or cold, or rainy, or windy, or breezy, or warm, or *insert any type of weather*)” “Oh sorry, I’ve only been standing out here in the same spot for 6 hours with no shelter…so I hadn’t noticed what the weather was like. Thanks for letting me know though!”
“I can’t, my kid is sleeping/crying/fussy.” “Oh sorry, I didn’t notice your big stroller with kids in it that are laughing and talking to each other.”
“Oh sorry, my feet hurt.” “Oh hey, so do mine!”
“Please no, I’ve already done that today.” “Oh sorry. I’ve done 100 just in the last 3 hours, so I understand.”
“Nope, I work here.” “Oh hey, I work here too! What a coincidence! We should be friends!” “Nope, I work here.” “Oh hey, me too! What a coincidence! We should be friends!” “Nope, I work here.” “Oh hey…I would have stopped talking to you if it mattered.”
…the list goes on. and on. and on…
If only they realized what the voices in my head say.
Working with the public is such a pain sometimes. Most times.
Smile. Be friendly. That’s what I’m told to do. I do it, not because I’m forced to but because I love my job and I love where I work. Even so, it does become heartbreaking to be looked at like a piece of week old bread or like a rotten gallon of milk. It hurts to be treated like you are the scum of the earth; like you have an infectious disease that will kill anyone you look at.
There have been (and still are) plenty of times where I just want to quit right on the spot. “I’ve had enough!” is what I want to scream at the top of my lungs, but I digress and vent with my colleagues instead. We can’t understand how people can be so cruel. How they think that they know how to do our job better than us. How they think we are useless and only end up bothering everyone around us. It’s all these same excuses we get over and over and over (and over + infinity + 1). They think we don’t know. They think we don’t feel. They think we’re too stupid to understand. Well you’re wrong. They’re wrong. This is what I wish I could tell them (in a fun, poem sort of way):
Oh hello there.
I’m sorry if I have offended you or hurt you in any way.
I only wanted to ask you about your day.
Did you have a good day?
Did you have a bad day?
I promise I mean no harm.
I promise I don’t bite.
All I need to hear is a simple yes or a simple no.
No need to fuss.
No need to pout.
I only wanted to ask you about your day.
I hope you have a good day.
It’s been a rough year and a half. Learning how to be more patient, how to let things go, how to stay positive, how to keep smiling, how to remain friendly, and how to find my purpose in spite of all the rejection and negativity. But no matter how many times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel, I am reminded by someone (or something) that this is all worth it. That what I’m doing is not worthless. Sometimes it’s a fellow employee and sometimes it’s all the cool perks, but more often than not it’s a customer that gives me a renewed sense of purpose. They’re the ones that take time to listen, that want to talk to you, that don’t judge you based on the way you look. They have great stories, and I love listening to their stories. Seriously. However, even more often times than not, it’s their kids who keep me smiling. It’s those moments where I get to interact with their kids, and ask them about their day and what they liked most of all. They have amazing stories and as soon as they know that they can trust you, they’ll talk your heads off! They’ll believe anything you say, so you learn to make up stories to make them laugh and to do things to make their day even better. My secret, however, is that they’ve really helped turn my frown upside down.
So what is my purpose?
My purpose is to love, no matter what I’m doing or where I am or who you are. It’s to make someone smile. To be friendly. You may not understand that and maybe you never will. I often forget that but I hope that I can wake up each day with a renewed sense of purpose. I realized this yesterday, and it was a great day! I remembered this today and it was a great day! So far, so good!
When it comes to my job, my purpose is to carry on a legacy that has been passed down from generation to generation. As hard as it may be, it is a vital part of what we do and the services we provide. So to all the misinformed customers, next time you think about shoving your hand in someones face and yelling at them, think about how you would feel if you were in their shoes.
So I suppose you could say the moral of this story is to love. Love what you do. Love who you meet. Love who you interact with. A simple smile can change it all. Sure, things aren’t always going to be fun and games, but the best we can do is to love. Enjoy your life. Smile. Be friendly. All you need is love. Love.
(Have I said it enough yet?)
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:37-40
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way.” – Neruda, Soneto XVII