I don’t know his full name but did notice ‘Ben C.’ on his name tag.
Ben C. is seventy-five years old if he’s a day and could not have been enjoying life more if he tried. It was a recent Saturday afternoon and I had just begun my shopping at a local grocery store. He was sitting behind a table with little sample bread pieces that customers were urged to try in the hopes that they would then buy the product.
“Nice sweatshirt,” he said to me after noticing the logo.
With a big wide grin he asked. “You ever been to Ireland?”
He was taking delight in what was about to happen.
“Yeah,” I replied, “when our son and his fiancée got married over there several years ago in Wicklow Town just south of Dublin. We had a great time.”
“How about you?” I asked in return.
It was then that I first noticed a slight hint of Irish brough.
“No. But my parents were born there so I am a first generation American.” He spoke a welcome greeting in Gaelic which he interpreted for me and the warm smile never left his countenance.
Then Ben C. surprised and delighted me, as well as a few other customers near us, by unabashedly breaking into a rousing Irish melody while sitting between the vegetable bins and fresh bread racks.
I looked and listened with admiration and gratitude. Here he sat on a weekend afternoon providing a smile, a positive attitude and a song to a total stranger who happened to be wearing a sweat shirt that said “Ireland” on it. He changed what would have been a rather mundane chore into an event.
Proceeding with my shopping chores I turned and said, “I am so glad I met you today, Ben. Thanks for the smile.”
Later that day I thought about the little things that all of us can do in our daily tasks to make someone else’s life brighter and better, even if only for a few moments. It might be holding the door for someone. It could be sounding extra cheerful on that phone call. It might be complimenting their choice of clothing or mentioning something nice about their appearance.
Or, if you happen to be a first generation Irish-American handing out sample bread slices, you might just break into a song and make someone’s day.
Thanks, Ben C., for doing just that.
Bill Sheridan–SHERIDAN WRITES
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