It's time for another round of Six Word Saturday - here's my thought for the day...
It's the little things that count!
Every Friday morning I get to sleep in an extra hour. This is because I stop at the local Social Security Administration office on my way in to work, and they don't open until nine. It's also jeans (and in my case pony-tail) day at work, so it doesn't take long to get ready to go. I am tired by the end of the week, so needless to say, this extra hour to sleep in feels like such a blessing. I think if I ran a business we'd start an hour late on Fridays, just for fun! Would the economy crash and the world really come to an end if everything started an hour later one day each week?
I get to the Social Security office with plenty of time to spare, as the line usually starts forming outside the door long before nine. If the weather is cold everyone sits in their cars until just a few seconds before they open, then there's a mad dash and jockeying for position as the line snakes it way thru the entrance. On warmer days, we all line up on the sidewalk as we arrive. Most folks are in a good mood first thing in the morning, and it's fun to visit with the people standing next. (I am often amazed at how people will stand in long lines or groups like stone soldiers not looking left or right or uttering a word to the people standing next to them. This is a golden opportunity to spread a few words of kindness... reach out... at least say good morning!)
Moving on... as we enter the building we are greeted by the same female security officer every day. She repeats the usual warnings about silencing our cellphones and leaving pocket knives, etc in the car. (Sadly, they deal with some pretty desperate people at times and things can get out of hand quickly in such situations.) Since I am one of their few "regulars" she knows me by now and we always exchange greetings.
Once inside the entrance, we enter the main office waiting area. Someone from the office stands at the doorway to assist people in making their selection on the computer screen that will print a numbered ticket depending on the reason they are there. The purpose of my visit is to drop off the paper copies of the online applications and forms required to apply for Disability and SSI, which is what our law office assists people in obtaining. We drop them off with a duplicate "top copy" for a clerk to stamp and initial as proof of receipt. (This is the only SSA office we need to do this with, apps previously had a tendency to get lost there.)
Back to the story... nearly every Friday morning, the person assisting us as we enter is a tall blond woman in her 40's. She is friendly, and never needs to ask me what I want because I've been there so often she knows it's "Option 3 - other business." Sometimes I am first in line, some days like yesterday the line is long when I arrive, and I can be several numbers back. I don't mind waiting, but I have plenty of office work to do upon my arrival, so loitering isn't ideal. (Yes, it's that old fashioned work ethic thing, rather rare now days, I know. The person from our office who used to go before I started working there said she always used to arrive right at 9 so that she was assured to have at least 30 minutes wait time.)
Now that the lady at the door knows the purpose of my visit she has started coming over to me in the waiting area once she gets everyone checked in, and taking my notebook of apps to the back to sign and stamp, then return them to me so I no longer have to wait for my turn. A week ago when I arrived she didn't even give me a number, just smiled and took my notebook and motioned for me to have a chair. I was in and out in less than five minutes.
Yesterday, as I noted, the line was long. Maybe it was the beautiful Spring weather that drew everyone out early. As we neared the door, I could see there was a gentleman assisting people with check in and I inwardly groaned, thinking I was sure to have a long wait.
I took my Option 3 number, then stopped at the restroom, since I'd already enjoyed my mug of morning tea on the ride to work. As I exited the restroom and headed for the chairs in the waiting area, from one of the windows I heard a friendly "Hey!" I turned to see the blond woman who usually helps me motioning me over to her window. I can take you now, she said. Wow! How cool is that? She was actually watching for me I guess!
As she returned my book to me thru the window and I prepared to leave, she smiled and said "What's your name, so I don't have to just yell 'Hey' at you?" I smiled back and told her my name was Josie, and I asked for hers in return. "I'm Paula," she said. The SSA Office is a typical government agency and friendly first-name assistance isn't their typical mode of operation, it's usually all business, no nonsense. though I always make a point of saying something friendly to the person behind the window before I leave. After all, they are people too, and probably get tired of being so serious.
From now on Paula and I will be watching for each other, and greeting each other by name... just another reason to look forward to Fridays! I'd like to send a letter to her supervisor commending her, but who knows, that might get her in trouble for letting me cut the line, so I'll just make sure she knows I appreciate her and my new "frequent flyer" status.
In life, it IS the little things that count, make sure you spread a little sunshine each day!