Thursday, December 20, 2007

Marvin the Marvelous

This time of year, encountering any worker in a store with an ounce of politeness left is quite a find. If they're smiling and/or friendly....well, that's an unbelievable bonus. Folks, I have discovered a treasure. And if you're ever in the need of an instant jolt of human kindness which comes with a genuine, megawatt smile, I know where to send you.

I encountered Marvin several months ago as he worked the register at the Walgreen's near me. Happy doesn't seem to be a big enough word for this guy. A black man in his mid 20s, Marvin is the kind of person who makes you smile even if you don't think you've got a smile left in you at the end of a bad day. The difference between him and other "nice" employees is that when Marvin asks you questions, you know he's engaging in a conversation with you, as opposed to repeating a training speech aimed at you. Last month I joked that he should be "Employee of the Month". He grinned and said he had been...for the last 2 months. With a nod at the Manager standing behind me, Marvin advised that fact could be confirmed. In fact, he insisted. Calling out his Manager's name, he offered, "This lady has a question." His manager confirmed the fact and I suggested that 3 months in a row wouldn't be a bad thing. You know what the interesting thing was about this exchange? The Manager had that managerial expression on his face before I asked my question, somewhere between serious and who-the-heck-messed-this-up? But when I complimented Marvin, the Manager didn't just answer, he BEAMED as if I'd asked him about a favorite child.

This morning I had to run into Walgreen's on my way to work. Run being a figure of speech, not an actual description of my motion. I'd jammed my knee last week and for the past 3 days I've been Air Traffic Controller for those Christmasy events at my Center. This morning, the knee felt better but the poor muscles which have been playing a supporting role were screaming with every step. Gimping inside, the first person I spot is Marvin speaking to a co-worker. He's dressed in this yellow shirt that I swear looks just like sunshine, with a tie to match. As soon as he sees me, he begins to wave like an over grown five year trying to get an adult's attention as he calls out, "Good Morning!"

He's so cheerful all his enthusiasm drowns out the chorus of would-you-just-sit-down! that my knee muscles are singing. As I pass him, I look at his co-worker and ask with a grin, "What do you feed this guy for breakfast?" She smiles and shakes her head, almost perplexed by such joyfulness. Without missing a beat, Marvin chimes in, "Chicken Eyelashes."

How can you not like a guy with a sense of humor like that?

I grab my items as quickly as possible and head towards the check out with all the enthusiasm of a snail on tranquilizers. Seeing me moving so slow, Marvin stops what he's doing and gallantly races for the counter with a cheerful, "I'm coming Boo. Slow down." We get into one of those interesting conversations that lasts past the return of change and receipt which leaves both of us laughing. Wonderful laughing. You know... the kind that is genuine and makes you feel better.

I wish him a good day and a Merry Christmas, adding that I don't plan on any more last minute purchases prior to that date. He smiles, looking like Jamaican sunshine and replies, "Oh, you'll see me again."

You know Marvin, you're probably right. I wonder if the sun knows it's got a rival?


Bonnie said...

We need more Marvin's in this world. Chicken eyelashes huh? hmmmm...nah! I think he was pulling your leg :-).

hope said...

I love that he said it with a straight face...and a twinkle in his eye. :)