One morning when I left the house, I was greeted by a street full of large trucks, heavy equipment, and San Diego Gas and Electric workers everywhere. They were busily working on telephone lines and—with not a lot of room on our narrow street—they were blocking my driveway entrance.
Since we hadn’t gotten any notice of their work, I walked over to ask what was going on. As I approached, one worker turned toward me with a look of dread as if to say, “Oh no, please don't yell at us!”
His reaction made me realize he didn’t want to inconvenience me any more than I wanted to be inconvenienced. I made an effort to relax my shoulders and smile as I inquired about the situation.
“We’ll be here a few days for maintenance,” the worker explained, “but we can move our trucks for you.”
I thanked him and walked back to my car as they did so. I knew the work was necessary, but nevertheless still wasn’t thrilled about their presence.
Over the next couple days, as I came and went, I watched the workers bustling about in their specific roles. They were all business trying to finish the job. For them, another ordinary day. There seemed to be no happiness in their mission.
So one afternoon, I baked a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies and wrapped them in a bag that they could store on one of their trucks. I also made some iced tea and included a few paper cups and cute, colorful napkins with the cookie bag.
As I approached with the snack, again one of them looked weary of my intentions.
I smiled wide. "Hi", I said, “I thought you might enjoy a bite of homemade chocolate chip cookies and some iced tea."
The man’s eyes widened. “We would love that.”
The other workers’ faces lit up one by one as they thanked me and accepted the treat. All the tension diffused into a feeling of camaraderie. In one simple gesture, they had transformed from workers on my street to a part of the neighborhood.
Now, when I run across anyone working on the street, I try to at least wave, smile, and maybe stop to chat for a minute. It’s such a simple way to make an ordinary day more extraordinary!