Just a minute to squeeze this in...


When you work, you could either just do what is expected of you or you could smile a little and make each day a pleasant experience for everyone around you. I will always remember Roy for he is one of the latter.

Roy had a little shop by the pool when I used to work in that institute. I’d usually go to him for a coffee in the evening or a glass of juice. Sometimes, he’d make me a decent sandwich and chat up. I’d go to his canteen at least once a day and sometimes pay him an extra visit after a swim. I always admired how he not just took the orders and brought me food, but also always took a moment to inquire how the day has been or ask about family back home.

I visited some friends at the institute a few days back. On my last day, I walked the tiny path along the pool towards the guest house office where my keys had to be returned. It was a pleasant afternoon and I had a flight to catch in just a few hours. I noticed someone on my right, seated on a stone bench, craning his neck to get a glimpse of me. I looked at him. He smiled and waved with excitement. It was Roy! I smiled and waved back, just as excitedly!

I walked up to say hi. We talked for a bit. His little daughter is now 3 and has started talking already. He looked well. I told him about how life has been for me in Edinburgh. He seemed very happy to have seen me. I felt very warm in my heart in knowing that he was able to identify me as soon as he caught a glimpse of me (he must see and serve hundreds of people each day at his little shop!) and that things hadn’t changed at all between him and I. He still fondly remembered me, as I did him. He asked about my well being just as he always used to. He smiled his usual innocent smile.

As I was leaving, he said to me “Wherever you are, do well and have a good time. And always keep that smile.”

And the memory of his smile and these words will always be dear to me.

When we are little, we think of this world as a beautiful place and we imagine we will make friends with and connect with many people as we grow up. And with time we realise that genuine friends are hard to come by. And some connections are made in the most unlikely circumstances with the most unexpected people. It is those that stand out the most!



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