“Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Sunday night, I walked into a local restaurant to pick up my order of Chinese food. I looked over to the soda cooler, and saw that they were out of lemonade, my drink of choice. The woman at the counter recognized me and grabbed my order. As she rung in the charge, she looked at me and asked, “You’re not getting a drink tonight?”
I explained that they were out of lemonade. She shared that during the off season, that often happens. I live in a town with a lot of summer tourists, and apparently, I’m one of the few people who drink lemonade all year. She then asked if I’d ever tried pineapple soda. I wasn’t even sure what that would taste like.
“Give it a try. If you don’t like it, next week, the entire meal is on the house.” How could I resist an offer like that?
I drove home with a silly grin. What an amazing encounter. I love great customer service, and that exchange is a perfect example of how to treat a customer. Large business owners could learn so much from small businesspeople like her.
The more I reflected on what happened, the happier I became. That exchange wasn’t a fluke, but a representation of how fortunate my life has been. I wouldn’t have had that conversation unless I:
could afford take-out food.
could afford a car to drive to the restaurant.
could afford a house in a nice town.
Sure, my wife and I have worked hard to earn good salaries. However, there has been plenty of luck along the way with jobs and clients. Being born to good parents was a lucky beginning that led to a good education. Meeting the right people is often a matter of chance. The house we live in being available at a time we were looking to move was not something we controlled.
Of course, those are the big things that are easy to point out. Most of our lives aren’t filled with significant events that impact us for years. Rather, we have brief moments that bring us joy. The sound of birds on an early spring morning. A full moon transforming shadows into a magical stage. The person at the counter knowing who you are and taking the time to introduce you to something new.
Every day brings the opportunity for another delightful instance. They may be personal, like a knowing smile or loving glance. They may be public, like being waved ahead at an intersection. Or unexpected, like a phone call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years.
These little moments are the main ingredients to a life of happiness. Gradually, we build upon each small joy, each delightful moment, every bit of bliss. We reach a moment of appreciation and reflection on the good fortune we’ve experienced. Our life is good.
At that moment, we should also recognize our unique opportunity to bring joy to others. To be kind to a stranger, smile to the people we encounter, and love those closest. To be a small part of the recipe that makes up the wonder that is their life.