Every afternoon Nessim greets me with a massive smile and a booming hello, how are you? I’m not his greatest customer. Really I’m not. Usually I pop in for a packet of mints or a packet of jelly snakes for a meeting. Some days I buy a tattslotto ticket for fun from him. But it doesn’t seem to matter to Nessim; he is always genuinely happy to see me. That bursting out of your skin happy. And he’s always up for a quick chat. But what often takes me by surprise is his insight into me and his other customers.
He will introduce people to one another and let you know what their speciality is. “This is Will and he is an accountant. So when you win tattslotto you come and speak with him – yes?” It’s not if we win tattslotto. He seems to think one day everyone will win big. It’s just a matter of time.
One day he introduced me to a group of people hanging around the counter in the late afternoon. “This girl works with the nicest people I have ever met. Truly. They help young people and they are good people; very good people.” You know when you hear a compliment that is totally unexpected, you blush and stutter something? Yep, that was me, I was both proud of the team I work with and really chuffed that he had noticed.
Then I took a minute and thought. Wow Nessim really notices us. Actually, he notices everyone. He makes everyone feel a bit special. From the homeless looking guy that somehow manages to scrape enough together for his morning paper to the guy that works building yachts…to me. I don’t think I have ever seen him not make time, not smile his warm generous smile, or laugh his Buddha belly laugh. Even when he was robbed a few years ago, he stood on the pavement and shook his head with a smile. “Ah, I’m happy I wasn’t hurt. It’s just money, what can you do.” he said. I think I was more upset than he was.
Nessim got me thinking about how such a small action like a smile or a few minutes of your day can make all the difference in the world for someone. I know that there are some days that I have felt tired and grumpy~ready to pack up my bat and ball and go home! Nessim somehow reminds me that the world is still a good place, just with his simple laughing welcome.
It’s funny how our role models can come from some unexpected places. They are not always the massive game changers with the big public profiles. Sometimes they are the every day folk that we bump up against in our day to day lives.
Sometimes your role model may be your mum, your friend or your teacher. Some days they may be a complete stranger. Or in my case, the beautiful older Egyptian man in the local shop, who treats me as if I may be dead before midnight every day…
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free