Today, I am thankful for slow lines at Walmart. Did I just say that? Yes. Why?
Shortly after having sent a friend a text message about the check out system at my local Walmart, I had a very cool conversation with quite an interesting young man.
I happened to walk by this young man with a cart full of Mountain Dew and cinnamon buns. Being in a chatty mood, I said, “Looks like your having a party.” To which he responded that he worked for the carnival – this was his weekly shopping trip and it was for two people. I crossed his path again, and saw him adding Monsters to the cart and said, “You must not get much sleep working for the carnival.” He said, “This is the only way we stay awake.” Which is a little scary if you think about it, but I guess as long as they are awake, that’s okay.
Then, as I am waiting in line to checkout, who ends up behind me but, Dimples. Yes, I’m a sucker for dimples and this guy had them, so we’ll call him Dimples.
I told him I was intrigued by his work and would love to chat with him, but obviously neither of us had the time. He said, “Looks like we’ll be in line together for a while, so we can chat.” COOL.
It was almost like an interview, as I asked him questions and he answered me. To the best of my recollection, it went like this…
Q. Who do you work for?
A. (I don’t’ remember the specific answer) He then explained a little bit about the company. They are in town for the NC State Fair! He said it pays pretty well, and they cover his living expenses so he just has to cover car, phone and food. He felt that was a pretty good deal.
Q. What made you join the carney?
A. I hit a rough patch and they happened to be passing through town, in need of employees, so I joined them.
Q. Do you work one specific ride or do they move you around?
A. I work a kiddie ride. Most of the guys don’t like working with the kids, but I love it. What better job can you have than making kids smile?
Wow – what a sweet answer! I definitely viewed him in a different light at this point. He had mentioned saving up money for going to college so I asked about that.
Q. What do you want to go to school for?
A. Political Science.
I said we couldn’t even begin to go there! He explained he didn’t want to be a politician, he wanted to study politics. He wanted to understand why our government doesn’t work. I told him we could definitely have a conversation about that!
It was my time to pay, and as I headed out Dimples said, “It was nice chatting with you.” I said, “Yes, I enjoyed it. Have a nice day.” Then Dimples said, “You too, honey.” Chuckle. I walked away smiling.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Carnie?”
• Perhaps a dirty loser looking to pick up chicks?
• Maybe someone down on their luck who couldn’t find anything else?
• Ever … a sweet young man saving up money for a bright future?
I thoroughly enjoyed my brief chat with Dimples. This is a young man with a plan! Good for him! See what fun things we can learn, and the interesting people we can meet when we engaged with the people around us? Who might you run into and have a chat with today? You never know!
*Pam Horton is a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach, in the Raleigh area.*