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Essay: Car wash

I exit the car wash and steer my dripping Jeep toward the young man who’s going to towel it off.

Most of the time, this last step is done quickly and without enthusiasm, but today is different.

This guy is smiling and happy—and he almost dances around my vehicle, as if he’s having a good time.

Maybe he is. And I’m grateful to him not only for a dry car but for his friendliness, for this unexpected good cheer on an otherwise drab day.

He has lifted my spirits and reminded me how a person can add worth to a job by the way he does it.

Most of us, if we’re lucky, have had a variety of jobs in our lifetime. If we’re really lucky, we’ve started at the bottom more than once, had to do things we didn’t like, things that didn’t showcase our special talents. And we could do our best or just get by.

For some reason, this young man at the car wash does not feel diminished or resentful because he’s doing a fairly ordinary job.

He’s decided to bring his energy and personality to the task—so that I see the task differently. See that all work is valuable and all workers.

I pull a few more bills from my wallet for a tip.