Making a Difference

Posted on April 16, 2014 under Storytelling with no comments yet

Half full

Is your glass half full or half empty?



Other than solitary confinement, is there possibly any place worse than an airport departure lounge at 6:30 a.m.?  It’s not so bad if you are heading for a southern vacation to escape the icy grip of winter.  But if you are returning from a warm place, at the end of your vacation, heading north with snow in the forecast … that’s another feeling altogether.

You’ve had a wonderful vacation.  The weather has been spectacular.  You haven’t done anything resembling work.  Your only complaint is a bit too much sun.  Don’t mention this when you get back home, as those who shoveled in your absence will not have much sympathy.

Weary eyed travellers congregate in the stultifying atmosphere that is unique to departure lounges.

Just when despair is about to swallow up the entire area, Hudson News opens its doors …. hardly a reason to put on the party hats.  But this newspaper and book outlet has a secret weapon.  Jorge.

Can one person make a difference?  You betcha.  When the problems of the world seem beyond anyone’s power to fix, it is hard to imagine that a solitary human being can do anything about it.  But one person who radiates a positive outlook like a neon light can sure work wonders.

My quest was simple enough.  I wanted to purchase the morning paper to keep me amused on the flight from Orlando to Philadelphia.  I approached the cash register still wiping the sleep from my eyes.  And out leapt Jorge, greeting me with the force of an open fire hydrant.  His reaction to my purchase, his first sale of the day, had all the trappings of an announcement that he had won the Power Ball.

“Thank you for the business.  Thank you for the business.  And have a great day!”  This was followed by a full on fist bump.  His voice was loud enough (but not abrasive) that everyone in the departure lounge could hear him.  A few people smiled.

Next up was a sullen teenage boy.  “Every day is a great day. You gotta live it, kid.”  I’m not sure if the youth heard him with his head phones glued to his skull.  I like to think that I glimpsed a fleeting smile.  An attractive middle aged lady approached the till.  You could see that other passengers were now dialed in to this walking goodwill ambassador.  “Have a great day, ma’am.  It was a pleasure serving you today.  And thank you for the beautiful smile.”

You could see the mood change perceptibly as this amazing man cajoled people into good humour, single handily.  Here is someone who made a conscious decision when he got out of bed that he was going to make people feel good.  In the blink of an eye he transferred his positive attitude to a group of weary travellers.

What if each of us got out of bed and made up our mind that, for at least one day, we would think and say only positive things?   What if we went out of our way to make people smile, as Jorge had done?

It was evident that Jorge’s cup was half full that morning.  From now on, even on bad days, I’m not going to think that mine is half empty.

Can one person make a difference?  Absolutely.


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