The Parking Garage Lady was contagious yesterday. And I caught it. Let me explain.
Typical scenario: you go through the toll booth or exit the parking garage. You hand him the ticket. He stamps it.
You hand him a five.
He slaps a one into your hand and pushes the button. Gate lifts. You’re gone. End of story.
But that’s not what happened to me yesterday morning.
With our window rolled down, ready to get our ticket, my husband and I heard her before we got to her cheery, joy-dispensing booth. “You have a wonderful Thursday!” she said to the person in the car ahead of us.
“How are y’all this morning?”, she asked…as if she really wanted to know. Still a little sleepy and nursing my coffee, I leaned to the left from the passenger seat. I wanted to see this happy lady. With a warm smile she commented, “Nippy this morning! But I bet it’ll warm up by noon time! Isn’t this a gorgeous time of year?”
“Uh, yeah!” was our brilliant response.
We parked and made our way to the building. As we walked past her booth, our eyes met. She smiled and waved. Maybe it was just the coffee kicking in, but I felt a bit more bounce in my step. I smiled and waved back.
Entering the building, I pondered that this woman has transformed a job some might call mundane into a personal mission to brighten the day of each person who crosses her path. She may look like an ordinary parking garage lady, but don’t be fooled by her disguise. She’s actually a superhero, nixing negativity with each parking ticket she stamps!
Not only did she brighten my day and everyone else fortunate enough to park in the Washington St. Garage, but she also made it contagious.
John had business in the courthouse. A security guard instructed us to place jackets, purse, etc. on the conveyor belt. I waited for the go ahead to pass through the detector. Person after person walked through without a word or glance to the guard. Infected by my happy parking garage lady, I ventured a word of encouragement. “Thanks for keeping us safe.” The guard was caught off-guard. “Thank you, Ma’am.” He smiled and actually stood slightly taller.
As I stepped onto the elevator, a woman stared straight ahead, expressionless. As we ascended, I broke the silence. “I love your boots.” Her face came to life. “I got ’em on sale!” “Well then all the better!” I replied. We laughed.
The doors opened. “Have a great day!” she called after me.
Yes, I know. These conversations aren’t world-changers. But they are short, painless affirmations of the people we bump into all day long. What if we “infect” the people we encounter and they in turn, “infect” the people they encounter?
As you go through your ordinary day today, whether at home or work, remember your extraordinary opportunity to infuse a little joy into someone’s life. Who knows what kind of happy epidemic you and I can start?