SMILING FACES

“People that we encounter in routine day-to-day activities possessing bubbly character are becoming a rare breed these days.”

Over the years, I’ve met several outgoing people in Lake Havasu City restaurants, banks, grocery stores, and other retail establishments. To some residents and out of town visitors, they were merely worker bees and nothing more. I viewed them on a more personal level.

Jimmy was employed at Basha’s close to our neighborhood. He was a short Italian guy and perhaps the friendliest person in the store. Jimmy always wore a smile and had a glowing personality. The man was at retirement age when I first started doing business there, so I’m guessing he was in his late 60s at that time.

I always made sure to go through the checkout line where Jimmy bagged groceries. It never failed that he’d say, “Have a nice day!” as I left. The tone of Jimmy’s voice showed that he truly meant such. When I learned that the man passed away not long after retiring it brought tears to my eyes.

Glenda worked at the local Ace Hardware right up the street. We chatted quite often on all kinds of subjects, as I was constantly in there picking up supplies. She was a believer like me, so talking religion wasn’t out of the question, including politics. Glenda knew that my wife had been through cancer treatment, never forgetting to ask how Joleen was doing.

When Glenda had serious health issues, Joleen and I took her goodies to eat while she recovered. The frail woman was most appreciative. When Glenda passed away, we attended evening services. I was sad, but also knew she was in a much better place. Southside Ace Hardware has a picture of her on a wall behind their cash registers. I always glance at it before walking out.

Linda worked at Basha’s like Jimmy. She was one of their senior employees and very proficient at her job. I don’t know how many times Linda helped me through the self-checkout process. I became an expert at locking this machine up without trying. Whenever I was able to use it without assistance, she high fived me with a grin.

One morning, Linda told me that she was close to retiring. Offering congratulations, I jokingly mentioned that if her retirement mirrored mine, she’d be much busier than she was now. The kind woman nodded in agreement. Several weeks went by and I hadn’t seen her, so I figured Linda’s exodus had started early. A co-worker sadly told me one morning, that she’d unexpectedly died weeks before reaching that goal. I was heartbroken.

Black Bear restaurant is a favorite place for many to eat. James was one of our favorite servers there. He carried around photos of his two granddaughters, and always brought customers up to speed on how they were doing. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more doting grandparent than this fellow.

Last week, we were in this restaurant for breakfast. This was the first time in two years because of covid, as well as the eatery suffering a major fire in November. Joleen and I quizzed a veteran server about what crew members came back after their reopening, and those that didn’t. When I brought up James, a lump immediately came to the woman’s throat. She could hardly tell us, that her co-worker and good friend died October 31 from a covid related illness. I couldn’t finish my meal after hearing that.

People that we encounter in routine day-to-day activities possessing bubbly character are becoming a rare breed these days. The four workers just mentioned were happy to have a job and it showed. I’m sure they had bad days like everyone, yet didn’t complain, at least not to me. Serving the public can be brutal. I know this from my own experience in retail sales.

If awards are posthumously given for excellence in service, while wearing a smile, Jimmy, Glenda, Linda, and James without question, each deserve one!

Glenda

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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