Up at four. At the gym at four-thirty. Ready to greet the day by six.
Twice a week, this is my hamster wheel. It is the ditch I dig. The life I choose.
That is how I met Andy.
I haven't really paid much attention to him until this morning, probably because I don't see him that often. We meet for only a brief moment, once or twice a week, when I fill up my car with gas.
There is something very warm and inviting about Andy. He is an older gentleman, who has certainly lived a long while and can probably tell a lot of great stories. He has trouble with technology though. He interacts with it like he is a snake charmer. Hands are always moving, unsure of what happens next.
We don't speak much.
I hand him my points card. He pushed numbers. I tap my debit card. I am out the door.
We literally only have seconds but in that brief moment I am beginning to get to know him.
The conversation is never deep, it is always filled with small talk and almost exclusively about the change in the weather. To the uninterested observer, there is nothing particularly interesting happening here. The exchange is simply mundane.
Andy does his work with tremendous love and care. The money he makes can't be that good, so it can't be the job, he must really enjoy the company of people. The job doesn't call for it, certainly, or demand it. He is wearing someone else's shiny badge, and he too will one day be replaced by someone new.
No one will notice.
Gas will be poured. Snacks will be sold. Digital money will continue exchanging postal codes.
I drove to another gas station before I changed my routine, because it always has the cheapest gas in town. It was really exciting for many years to save a dollar or two but I don't do that anymore. At this little gas station, this wonderful man treats me like a human being. It isn't forced, or mandated. It just seems to be part of his natural disposition. To me, I am beginning to take notice because it is important.
He always has a smile. He gives me advice on road condition, and once in a while even shares the duties he has prescribed for himself later on in the day. He doesn't complain about his working hours. He doesn't seem bored or bothered by customers. He awaits the end of his shift not because he cannot wait to leave but because he has other things to do.
Andy is a magnificent human being.
He has made me realize this very morning that we need to take greater stock of the little things we do or what others do for us. Our family and friends are always prominent figures in our lives, but how many Andy's do we have in our lives? Their little kindnesses make living more meaningful.
It is nice to know an Andy, but it more imperative that we become one.