Having A Nice Day Is A Choice


The day I am writing this is a Thursday. The second from the last Thursday of October 2008.

It has been a nice day.

It didn’t have to be a nice day. It could have a lousy day. It certainly had the potential for it.

But it didn’t turn out lousy, and I’d like to tell you why.

As I do on most Thursdays, I drove into Payson today to go shopping. Along with the shopping I had to do, I had another small task to take care of; I needed to deposit a manila envelope in my safe deposit box.

The contents of the envelope, a half dozen or so business letters, were the result of about three weeks of letter writing and phone calls. It all began with a letter I received from my mortgage company telling me that they had discovered that one of their — as they put it — “now ex-employees” had stolen the personal information of some of their clients, including mine.

They advised me to call in a credit fraud alert to one of the three credit reporting agencies, and they explained that the agency I notified would notify the other two. They also said that I might want to think about placing a freeze on all new credit.

Needless to say, they apologized for the trouble that had been caused. And also needless to say, I took their advice and placed a fraud alert on my credit record.

After thinking things over, I decided to also place a freeze on all new credit. That took a bit of doing. I was able to do it with Transunion over the phone, but with Equifax and Experian it took letters, and documentation proving that I am who I am.

Anyway, it’s all done now, and I have three PIN numbers that I can use to either temporarily or permanently take off the freeze if I want to.

Those PIN numbers, I decided, along with the correspondence going back and forth, were not something I really wanted to have lying around the house. So I decided to put the whole mess in a manila envelope and put it in safe keeping, hence my trip to the bank.

Arriving at the Bank of America in Payson, I made a small deposit and asked to have access to my box. The teller and I went into the safe. She opened a drawer and began looking for my signature card.

Now, that’s where the day could have gone wrong.

She absolutely could not find that card and the other paperwork that went with it. “It’s in here,” she told me, “but someone has apparently misfiled it.”

She spent a while trying a couple of likely wrong places and then asked me if I would mind signing another signature card, a temporary one.

It was, I suppose, a chance for me to get all huffy and angry. An opportunity, in other words, to ruin her day — and mine.

But think of it this way: What would I have gained by getting angry? Getting angry is a very unpleasant thing, both for the person who’s angry, and the person at whom he or she is angry. It feels bad. It fact, it feels lousy — for both people.

And it would not have gotten anything accomplished. Not a thing!

“No problem,” I told her, adding a couple of other comments to relax her in an embarrassing situation which was certainly no fault of hers.

And so I signed another little card. Signed it twice in fact, and don’t ask me why because I didn’t ask why, so I don’t know.

Then we got out my box, I put my envelope in it, we both smiled, and she promised me she would root out the original card and put it where it belonged.

It was a nice experience. two people being pleasant to each other. Two people making each other’s day.

It felt good!

Then, this evening about 7:30, to top the day off, I put my beloved wife Lolly to bed, walked into the little closed-in porch where I often sit and write, and heard a God-awful racket across the street, one that was loud enough to almost certainly keep my wife, who is an invalid, awake.

I went outside and saw three construction workers doing some work diagonally across the street. The noise was a very loud audio box of some kind. A big wallah! Something that looked specially made for construction sites.

I strolled over, all 5-foot-8 inches and 140 gray haired pounds of me. The box was so loud that they barely heard me when I said hello, but one of them turned it down so they could hear.

I told them that Lolly was an invalid and politely asked them if they might be able to turn down the volume.

The answer?

“Hell no!”

But it was, “Hell no!” accompanied by, “We’ll turn it off.” Along with that went a trio of smiles.

I thanked them, shook hands, and went inside, smiling, happy, and feeling good. I’d like to think that they felt the same way, and I’m pretty sure they did. They certainly deserved to feel good. They had earned it — and then some.

Once again an opportunity for a ruined day had come along, but those three hardworking construction men chose not to take that opportunity. They chose to make me — and themselves — feel good instead.

Yes, it has been a nice day.

I suspect there might be a lot more of them if we would all pay a little more attention to a saying that begins with, “Do unto others ...”

What the hey! I’ll give it a shot if you will.


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