The CVS Guy

It’s been 6 years since I’ve seen him. I think about him maybe once a week. Some weeks I forget about him, only to have a strong memory of him come roaring back into my mind.

I think about his smile, his infectious happiness, and his kindness when dealing with strangers. I think about his alternative hairstyle, the red vest he wore every day, and the eagerness with which he learned about new people.

This man brought lasting joy to my life. He saw me when I was at my lowest. He always managed to lift my spirits, leaving me better for knowing him.

He had this same effect on every person with whom he came into contact. He had a natural way of helping people get over themselves. Talking with him brought you out of your own head and into the world. When asked about his day, he only spoke about the varying ways in which he was blessed. “I’m so lucky to have the family I have,” or “The sun is shining so beautifully today,” were phrases I recall him saying. He talked about the burger he was looking forward to eating after work. He talked about the back yard barbecue he’d attended the previous weekend. Never did he complain; never was his attitude anything less than grateful.

In the two years I knew him, I never saw him upset. He wasn’t in-your-face-overly-happy, he was just a person filled with genuine contentment. He glowed.

This man has left a lasting impression on me. I wish I knew his name. I only know him as “The CVS Guy.”

When I was in college, a young, black man worked at the CVS Drug Store near my house. I went there about two times a week. At the time, I lived in a negative headspace, believing that I was a victim in this life. I didn’t understand that I could choose a better thought that would make my day better. Some days I’d be sad, going into CVS to buy anything that might fill the dark hole in my energy field (note: I’ve since discovered it cannot be filled externally). Many people I encountered at this time were either put-off by my “poor-me” attitude or, if they were experiencing similar depressive states, shared my general malaise and complained alongside me. Misery absolutely loves company. The CVS Guy was different.

He was the happiest person I’d ever met. He was kind to every customer he served. He was always kind to me. He was compassionate. He never judged me for the various products I purchased from his employer. He never advised me, counseled me, or recommended I make different life choices. He just shared happy stories about his simple, unglamorous life. He brought himself fully into each moment in a grateful, happy way.

I think about him often, typically when I get caught in a negative-thinking tailspin. For whatever reason, I remember the CVS Guy. He may have had far less material goods than I possessed, but he had so much more happiness. I remember him and think, “If he could be kind to everyone he met, so can I.” I don’t always succeed in my quest to be kind. In fact, I often fail. But, the memory of him reminds me to try.

I think we can all learn a thing or two from The CVS Guy.

© 2017 Shawna Marie Rodgers
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