Cashier at superstore: (Without making any eye contact whatsoever in an automatic tone.) "How are you today?"
Me: "SPLENDID, AS USUAL!"
Cashier: (Stands up at attention, stops moving, with a completely dead face, void of emotion. As if her face is numb and unable to actually express anything at all. Her head is tilted back and her body language is telling me she is absolutely skeptical. She looks through half closed, tired eyes.)
(I look back at her with the same beaming, energetic smile as when she had asked me and I had answered.)
Me: "The attitude of gratitude!!!!"
Cashier: (Rolls eyes with a slight smile, sighs, goes back to checking in my avocado, coconut milk, sweet potato, spinach, curry paste, nori, grapefruit, green peas and tofu. Picks up the tofu.) "You eat this stuff?"
Me: "Yes I do!!!! I put it in stir fry sometimes, it's great!"
Cashier: (Sarcastic with a smirk, shaking her head.) "I'm sure... I could never eat that stuff. You must be a vegetarian are you?"
Me: "Sort of. Well, yes. I don't eat anything that comes from an animal. No meat, no cheese, no eggs, milk, butter.. Nothing that is or comes from an animal."
Cashier: "Oh, you are one of THOSE."
Me: (I pause and choose carefully my next words, then sympathetically say: "You must have had a long day."
Cashier: (In a tone of conviction as if she had said it many times before. Again without eye contact.) "Every day is a long day."
Me: (softly in a warm tone) "I've heard that before and I don't really believe it's true."
Cashier: (Distracted, ignores my comment, mumbles.) " Yeah, well..."
She gives me the total of my groceries and stands with her weight on one side, with her hand on her hip, looking at my purse.
I pay for my groceries, there is no one in a line up behind me, so I stand there when the interaction is complete. I wait for her to start questioning why I am not leaving, I have not budged and am still facing her.
I sense her discomfort as she tries to busy herself behind the cash. She straightens things, picks up bags off the floor and uses the hand sanitizer next to her cash.
Me: "Do you like coffee?"
Cashier: "I drink it every day... why?"
Me: "My friend bought me a coffee the other day and I won a free coffee on roll up the rim. I haven't used it yet and I was looking for someone that I could give it to. I would REALLY like you to have it."
(Unexpectedly her face lights up with the biggest grin. She went from stone face, to the happiest you could imagine her being, in a split second)
I gave her the free coffee with a smile. As she gripped it, I looked right into her eyes. I wanted to say more to her. I wanted to say something like; don't forget, the attitude of gratitude! or something clever and witty but I didn't have to.
And I know if I ever meet eyes with that woman again, she will be smiling.