Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh, the Things We Can Learn From Each Other...

Today at the grocery store there was a group of special needs adults on a "field trip". This in itself is unusual because you never see special needs adults- or kids- anywhere in South Africa. It's like they're all hidden away somewhere. I hope I'm wrong, of course, but I'm not the only foreigner who has commented on this.

I think this group of guys were learning life skills - how to buy food, count money, etc. Each one of the 15 or so men waited in queue at the till to buy chips and a cooldrink. They were all so friendly and polite to the lady behind the till. One of the young adults even hugged the lady when he had completed his transaction.

On their way out (I was at the till a few rows over) the guys were beaming at their accomplishment. I smiled at them. One of them waved at me. I waved back. The guy behind him giggled and waved at me. I smiled and waved back. The guy behind him blew me a kiss. I blew a kiss back. He blew me kisses all the way out of the store. I think I embarrassed my daughter, who was with me, but I don't care.

Now if I tried to hug the lady behind the till every time I went to the grocery store she'd probably think I'm a little weird, but it got me thinking... how often do we smile, greet and thank those who serve us? More often than not I get irritated when they have to do a price check on an item or when they don't have any change. I have a feeling, though, that those guys made that lady's day today. And I want to follow their example.

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