Monday, February 20, 2006

Completely Genuine

Last night on the drive home, I had a moment of sorts with a gas station attendant as I was paying for my gas and energy drinks for the drive home from St. Cloud.  I had stopped in Monticello to fuel up at around 6:45 pm.  You know that the people who are working at a gas station on a Sunday night either really need the money or are having a hard time finding jobs.

As I brought my two energy drinks (they were some off brand that I forget the name of now) to the counter, the couple in front of me were giving the kid working the counter a hard time.  He was a pretty husky kid who I don’t think could be any older than 19.  At the top of his large frame was a baby face with glasses.  If you were to judge him on looks alone you’d probably assume he has few friends and spends most of his time either playing World of Warcraft or studying.

The couple checking out had some food in a travel container at which the cashier asked what flavors the items were.  The man of the couple shot back at him, “Why do you need to know?”  Shyly, the kid told them he needed to know because the prices were different for some of the flavors at which the man responded, quite off the cuff, “Oh, I think two are barbeque and one is mesquite… or something like that.”  

I’m sure the kid just wanted to do his job right.  Who knows, it could have been his first job and he didn’t want to mess up.  I was actually quite upset with the attitude of the people in front of me.  It was as if they didn’t even register the cashier as a person, but merely something to service their needs.

Thankful that they had left, I pushed my drinks onto the counter and told the cashier I had gas on pump 9.  In seeing my smile as I told him that I was glad the drinks were on sale he asked me somewhat meekly, “Have you tried the Blast Berry?”

From what I could tell in the short time I’d been there, this seemed like something that he usually wouldn’t do with a customer.  He was taking a chance.  I know that if he was still in high school it was pretty much a lock that he was one of the most made fun of kids simply because he was overweight.  I know because I used to be overweight, which made me one of the easiest targets for kids to hone their vulgar, comedic talents on.

I felt really good that he would go outside of his bubble and try to make that connection.  Somewhat surprised I told him I hadn’t tried it and that I was curious what he thought of it so I should know to get it next time or not.  Letting a slight grin escape he told me it was actually his favorite flavor and that I should definitely give it a try sometime.

“Next time I’ll definitely do that,” I told him as he handed me my receipt.  “Have a good night and thanks for the tip.”

And you know what?  Next time I do go to a gas station I’ll look for the Blast Berry (or something berry, I forget the exact adjective, but I know it’s the raspberry flavor) and give it a shot if for no other reason than it was recommended to me from someone who was completely genuine.  

The world is often a cold and daunting place, full of people on the go with hardly a minute to spare for anyone else.  It’s rare to find someone who has the energy to expend on a complete stranger.  I know I try, but often I forget that the people around me in the service industry are people too, just like me only doing something different than I do.  Thankfully, there are people like this cashier that remind me that everyone is worthy of my time, no matter what their employment, position in life, age, or looks might be.  

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