Driving home from Florida in mid-August we pulled over for gas in Normal, IL. As I pulled up to the gas station I noticed a gentlemen watering flowers in planters by each of the pumps. I stepped out of my truck, stretched, and proceeded to fill my tank.
We had just spent a week on a huge Royal Caribbean cruise boat where we visited three countries, ate wonderful meals, relaxed by the pool, read, and enjoyed shows. Throughout we were treated with smiles as all our needs were catered to as we flashed our sea pass.
Back in reality, tank full, I got in my car and started the engine when the gentleman walked up to my window. I rolled it down, skeptical.
“Cards fan, I see,” he said. And I noticed his hat.
“Where you from?” he asked.
“Rockford,” I responded.
“Oh boy, lots of blue up there. Can’t be easy. We are about 50/50 here.”
We went on to talk baseball for a bit. He bid us a farewell and safe journey before walking back into the old gas station, mostly windows advertising beer, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. I watched as he straightened a sign, bent over and picked up a wrapper, then started talking animatedly to a customer carrying a large soda.
We drove off.
I had just travelled the world. Snorkeled next to exotic fish. Gorged myself on rack of lamb and chocolate cake.
But this gentleman’s demeanor, his evident love of life and sincere nature. That is what will stay with me the longest.
I’m Michael Perry, and that is my perspective.