My quote for the day on Friday, our first snow storm, was from Wyat, the cashier at our local food coop, City Center Market. Wyat is 20 something with wavy blonde hair down to his shoulders. He has a very direct look when speaking to you and enjoys engaging in conversation. Friday his question in an exuberant tone of voice was, “So how do you like this snow?” Having canceled my massage appointment so I wouldn’t have to drive 2 1/2 hours in the stuff, my response was lukewarm at best and my head was still in a meeting I had just left. Wyat’s reply while waving his arm toward the window was, “Just look at that ambient atmosphere!” and he went on to express how he loved days like this. I looked. I let go of all the other stuff around the fact of the snow and looked at the day. It was beautiful. I smiled. We laughed together and chatted.
When I was in Spain walking the Camino we marveled at the attitudes of all who served us, their seeming love of their job and their willingness to share that with us. It was rare at best to encounter anyone quick, rude, brusk, or impatient. We talked about how it is not like this back home with tired harried wait people, cashiers, with our fast food mentality. There is truth to this perception but there is something more.
Since my return I have been observant and what I am seeing is people like Wyat. What I am learning and being reminded of is the relationship that happens in the encounter between server and customer, relationship here being key as we expect servers to be kind and available for our needs but the question then is, what do I bring to this encounter? When I approach the register or the wait person at a restaurant with my mind somewhere else or in my own version of fast food mentality, I am not available. When I don’t take a moment to smile, to ask how they are today, I expect more than I am willing to give back. Wyat likes to test himself and see if he remembers my member number. All the cashiers at the coop wear their names on their shirts. I don’t even know all of their names because I haven’t looked.
Wyat reached out and woke me up to my day but also to what it is to encounter another and be in the present moment with that individual. I left smiling wanting to write about this young man and the gift he gave me. This is a man who enjoys himself, who takes the risk to challenge others to enjoy themselves as well. Wyat challenged me to see beyond my own perception and judgment. I only hope I am able to pay it forward and offer another this gift as well.