My Favorite Stranger: Mr. Sunshine

It’s been months since I’ve found my favorite stranger. It’s not that there aren’t great people out there… perhaps it’s just because of my eyes haven’t been open.

When you’re whirling around in the chaos of life, it’s hard to appreciate the little things. It’s when you least expect it that another favorite stranger appears in your life.

It was a long Thursday staring at a computer, logging nearly 40 hours for the week by 5 PM. After work, I was foggy and exhausted but—as life has it—I had more work to do at home. Making dinner was not on my list of priorities.

Instead, I left supper up to Jimmy. On the way home, I made a detour for Jimmy John’s on 45th Street in Fargo. I was mumbling obscenities under my breath as I pulled up to the drive-thru. Is this damn workweek over yet? When will the stress lessen?

I was tired, delusional and half-asleep when a cheery voice greeted me.

“Hi, it’s a beautiful day!” the voice said. “What can I get you?”

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At first, I was convinced it was a recording—you know, the cheery pre-recorded voice you get at Wendy’s or Arby’s?

But with a few more words, I concluded he was real. He had the voice of someone on the radio—not the radio voice that’s annoying but the one that you tune into every morning to start your day off right.

I promptly ordered a #10 (the “Hunter’s Club”) as a smile slowly crept over my face. Why did he decide to be so pleasant today? What made him choose to be happy and pass that happiness on to the customers he greeted?

As I pulled up to the window—curious as to who was behind the upbeat voice—a blonde, curly-headed young man stuck his arm out the window to accept payment, offering a genuine smile in return.

While the angel of darkness on my left shoulder fought to keep me quiet, the angel on the right told me to speak up.

I sighed, smiling with exhaustion as I said, “Thank you for being so cheery today.”

Raising his hands up, he said, nonchalantly, “Hey, it’s what I do.” No, friend. What you do is make the world a better place.

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I’m sad to admit that I didn’t catch his name (which usually doesn’t happen with my favorite strangers) but, to me, it just looks like a sign that I’ll just have to go back and meet him another day.

(In case you’re wondering: my sandwich and experience was well worth the $6.98. Yours will be, too… especially if you have Mr. Sunshine help you.)

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