Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Customer

New Customer,  Copyright ©2010 by Ken West, all rights reserved

There’s a guy on the sidewalk selling something. I pass by without stopping.

“Next time, I’ll get you,” he shouts to me good naturedly.

I turn and walk back to him. He sits on a black plastic milk crate, a bearded, youngish guy with some front teeth missing.

“What are you selling?” I ask.

“Smiles and greetings,” says the guy.

“How’s business,” says I.

He smiles, slaps his knee, shakes his head. “Not too bad, but I haven’t got you as a customer yet.”

So, I reach in my wallet, pull out a dollar bill and put it in his collection cup. “OK, I’m a customer now.”

“Thank you, sir,” he says, and gives me his best, top-of-the-line smile. “Have a great day and I’ll see you soon, I hope.”

I smile back and head down the street to check the job listings at the unemployment office. For some reason the guy’s smile made me feel a lot better. Few people, even when I was working, bothered to smile at me. The guy on the black plastic milk crate now has a new customer.

Ken West, a former U.S. Army paratrooper, is president of Better Grip Media LLC and author of Get What You Want! Workbook… available worldwide on and other online booksellers. In the U.S. at

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