Posted by: ladybughugs | February 12, 2009

The Man Who Made My Day

…and no, it’s not my husband.

Yesterday was a really bad day at work. Everyone is under pressure to meet deadlines and this is coloring personal interactions and communications in ways that ordinarily wouldn’t affect us. Apparently, some co-workers think I’ve been brusque, abrupt with them. I guess some people prefer to perceive professional and efficient as curt. I know they’re busy, I am too, and I don’t want to take up any more of their time than necessary.

This morning made me hopeful that today would be much better.

First, I found $25 in the pocket of my slacks when I put them on. I have no idea how long it’s been since I last wore them nor do I have any recollection of ‘losing’ the money or how in ended up in my pocket to start with.
The kids and I finished our morning routine and I got them out the door, loaded into the van, and pulled out of the driveway. Half way down the road I realized I needed to stop for gas. The gas minder reminded me that I had ‘six miles to empty.’ Yes, I’d probably make it to preschool, but for some reason I decided to turn around and go the other way to a station closer to home. I don’t usually patronize that particular station, because the prices are usually significantly higher than most other stations (me thinks because it’s so close and convenient to the highway), but I was in a rush and felt that I should take care of this sooner rather than later.

When I pulled into the station it was empty. I had my pick of the pumps and I chose the one closest to where the attendant was standing; give him a break, after all. (We live in NJ where only employees of the station are permitted to pump gas…and gas prices are still lower than neighboring states at pump-your-own stations…I love NJ.) His name was George; the handwritten nametag he wore said so. I had $16 left on a cash card for that station so I asked him for that amount of regular. He proceeded to pump and I put my window back up.

This morning it was 48°F in our area. Not bitter cold, but gusty winds and scattered showers and dampness in the air made it feel colder.

As I sat there, waiting for the $16 of gas that would get me (and my carpool partners, one of which had a 9:00 meeting) to work on time, the attendant tapped on my window, so I opened it. He pointed up to the eastern horizon where the sun had just broken through the clouds and told me that I’d just brought sunshine to his day. (Wow!) I chuckled and responded with a sincere “thanks,” and told him I try.

He said, “I bet you bring sunshine to a lot of peoples’ days.”

I told him, “From your mouth, to God’s ears.” (Oh, if only!)

He responded with something along the lines of: “Well, if some people don’t see the sunshine you bring it’s their problem.”

There is no way this 50-something-year-old man could have known the words I needed to lift my spirit for the day ahead of me. The words I needed to keep my feet moving in the direction of my workplace and the inevitable discomfort of the fallout of the day before. The exchange keeps haunting me (in a good way, of course). How else, but by divine intervention could this man have been on my path the very day I needed to hear the message he had for me.

The comments I heard yesterday about me by co-workers, through my manager, were like a punch in the gut. They went against everything I hold sacred in how I treat those around me. It was devastating that I could be so misperceived.

Today was an unusual day at work. I’m part of a committee that is charged with boosting morale in our group and fund-raising for charity. Today we held a bake sale for the American Heart Association for their Go Red For Women campaign. I put my brightest face on, turned up the cheerful in me, put the past behind me and took a step forward. Two of the people who had brought the negative comments didn’t make eye contact with me. I’m sure the dust will settle once the deadlines that are weighing so heavily on everyone have been met and I’ll be able to go about repairing these relationships. In the meantime, I’ll just keep the charm level turned up to ‘blast’ and go about the business for which I get paid.

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