He always has a smile.
Hey guys, welcome to Pinkberry. Can I get you a sample to try?
He’s the sweet guy behind the counter with the round face and kind eyes. The guy who for weeks now has been serving my boyfriend and me our nightly treat. We pick it up after our evening walk where we talk about our day, our dreams, my daughter and the utter joy of the now.
Neither of us have ever spoken about the guy behind the counter who cheerfully hands us samples, letting us know what flavor he likes best. But the other day, as we walked in and saw his welcoming face, my boyfriend said,
That guy is the best employee ever. He is so sweet. He should get a promotion.
I started laughing because for weeks I was thinking the same thing but just hadn’t said anything. How often do so many of us do that? Observe in silence when sometimes the observation should be shared.
We watched him work as we waited in line. To every customer he was kind, upbeat, communicative.
Nice. Simply nice.
There’s something about a person who is genuinely nice that takes my breath away. In a world where there is so much anger, hate, teasing, bullying, jealousy, resentment, entitlement, judgment… to see someone being truly nice is a gift.
There are people who pretend to be nice. Kind. Genuine. But somehow you can always see it. A crack in the facade. Usually in the eyes.
You can’t fake nice. Something always gives you away.
We waited in line, unable to take our eyes off the positive energy moving behind the counter. His spirit was infectious.
When it was our turn to order we saw his name tag.
My boyfriend spoke,
We just have to tell you we think you’re awesome. You deserve a raise.
I didn’t think Nathan’s face could light up any more than it already was but it did.
Aww, thank you. They’ve actually given me three promotions.
We told him how amazing his spirit was and that his attitude was so great to be around. He proceeded to tell us of all the horrible jobs he had walked through in the past and how happy he was to finally land a job that made him feel good.
I love it here. Pinkberry has the best vibe for me.
He was so full of gratitude. We thanked him and let him know he made our night.
As we walked home we couldn’t stop talking about Nathan. Who was he? How did he learn to be so full of light in a job where someone else might feel resentful, bitter, stuck or, worse, indifferent. How did he learn such utter kindness of spirit? To make where you are the best place to be?
Everyone has a story. Maybe they’re just waiting to be asked what it is. I thought of that the next day when I was at the bank, gas station, security gate to go to my job. Stories everywhere. Journeys. Childhoods. Highlights and lows.
We all have this in common. I think that’s kinda remarkable.
The next night we went in for our yogurt, excited to see Nathan. My boyfriend even wanting to video tape him if he said it was okay.
Nathan wasn’t there.
And suddenly… it was just another place. Just another stop in the day. Just… another yogurt shop.
Oh, Nathan… whoever you are… Pinkberry doesn’t have the best vibe. YOU DO.
Today I plan to carry my vibe with me wherever I am. I hope it’s infectious. I hope a stranger feels it.
And maybe, just maybe… finds it nice.
(this column originally posted June 2014. As a side note, Derek & I are now friends with Nathan. After this column came out Nathan was thrown a party by his co-workers and bosses, became an employee celebrity, got promoted and the column went viral thanks to Pinkberry’s all over posting it! Go Nathan!)