Are you sitting comfortably? This is a short tale of how to enjoy life, regardless and keep smiling.

Years ago one Sunday lunchtime I was sitting with John, a friend of mine, in our local pub talking about learning experiences we’d had, how some accidents or errors had taught us things and how lessons can be learned from the strangest of situations.

John put his pint down on the table and told me this story.

” I used to work in an engineering factory that made various kinds of gearboxes, for trucks, cars, reduction gearboxes and propshafts. Down the road a few doors from my house lived a colleague who worked in the same factory but in a different department. Every morning they would get the same bus to work, sometimes they met at the bus stop and sometimes they would meet on the walk from their respective houses to the bus stop.

Most mornings they would stop at a newsagents shop to buy a newspaper and perhaps some cigarettes. John’s friend usually smiled, said good morning to the newsagent and asked for his paper, at which the newsagent grabbed the paper from the shelf and threw it on the counter.

His friend smiled, said “Thank you” and offered the correct money but occasionally he did not have it and handed over a banknote saying “Sorry I don’t have the right change this morning” in a pleasant manner.

At this the newsagent tutted pointedly, put the note in the till and threw the change on the counter frequently sending some of it on the floor. The friend then picked up the change and the paper and, smiling again said “Thank you very much”, turned and walked out of the shop.

John told me that the newsagent’s behaviour really annoyed him and frequently put him in a bad mood, he didn’t like to say anything to his friend but how could he continue to behave politely to this newsagent after such awful treatment? They then caught the bus at the bus stop and went their separate ways into the factory.

Days and weeks went past and sometimes the newsagent would treat his friend the same way until one day John couldn’t put up with it any more and said to his friend “Something has been bothering me for a while. How can you remain calm and polite and even smile sometimes when this newsagent treats you so badly?” His friend looked interested. John went on “If he talked like that to me I would tell him how rude he was and probably not use that shop again”.

The Moral of the story is..

John’s friend smiled and said “Well it’s simple really. You see, when I leave my house in the morning I’m in a good mood and I want to stay in that mood all day. Whenever anyone interacts with me in a less than polite manner like he does I rise above it and maintain my composure by thinking to myself “why should I let someone else decide how I’m going to feel all day?”

I’ve never forgotten that story, it doesn’t always work for me, sometimes people take me by surprise and I react too quickly but I do try to remember it in time.

And in the meantime, here are some more inspirational quotes to help you in your day.


Chris Chesher . Kas. Turkey 2021

Read more of our lovely Member’s short stories and Memoirs. Find more of them here…

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