62: Never a Bad Day

62: Never a Bad Day

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings

  
Never a Bad Day

If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.
~Cavett Robert

There are few places more unpleasant than a Florida post office with broken air conditioning. Throw in the rush of the holiday season and you have a pretty good picture of where I was last year during my lunch break, two weeks before Christmas.

People crowded around me in the line, balancing boxes on hips and shoulders, all watching the three postal workers behind the counter. Red and green stars hung from the ceiling overhead and brightly colored posters advertised the latest stamps.

The wait stretched on and on.

The folks behind the counter moved as fast as they could, doling out postage, handling packages, tracking down lost mail, but they were way over their heads. As time slipped past, the mood of the line grew uglier and uglier. You know the drill: loud sighs, sarcastic comments, people tapping their feet.

In short, it was all the social unpleasantness you can imagine concentrated into one overly warm room.

The one bright spot in this whole situation was the silver-haired gentleman in front of me. Looking completely unaffected by the extended wait, he asked if I was ready for Christmas. That started a conversation and we spent the rest of our time in line chatting. He was mailing a package to some grandchildren that he hadn’t seen in several months, and was nervous that he might not have picked out gifts they would like.

That led us to a discussion of gifts and gift-giving in general. As the people around us grumbled and complained, we talked about presents we’d received and given, both the hits and the dismal failures.

When his turn came, the man stepped quickly to the counter. The postal worker immediately apologized for the wait, but the man told him not to worry and they settled down to the business of mailing his package.

As he was walking away, the postal worker called out “Have a good day!”

Someone in the crowd heard and let out a cynical “ha!”

The older man turned back, smiled gently at the haggard man behind the counter, and said, “Son, I’ve never had a bad day in my life. And this,” he gestured vaguely at the crowd of unhappy people, “certainly is not enough to make me start.”

He caught my eye, gave me a wink, and walked out.

~Patrick Matthews

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