Thursday, October 21, 2010


I’m a big fan of spontaneous moments of unexpected joy.

Like watching the reaction of the elderly woman at Denny’s Restaurant when a stranger paid for her and her friend’s breakfast. Her face lit up like a perfect Christmas morning.

Or the look of surprised realization when a child sees the bunny in the sky instead of just the clouds.

But this morning I was taken aback when, in an instant, what would normally be considered a day-ruining event became a wonder-filled celebration.

The rain had fallen suddenly and fully. Sewer grates and curbs were overflowing. Umbrellas were the uniform of the morning.

The gentleman stood close to the intersection, waiting to cross, dressed impeccably in suit and tie, lost in the screen of his iPad. A car driving a bit too close to the curb, without warning, created a splash that literally drenched the middle-aged executive. Most people who saw it happen visibly gasped in sympathetic reaction.

He stood motionless for a few seconds. He put his iPad in the inner pocket of his soaked suit, closed his umbrella, looked up into the falling rain and smiled. Then broke into the opening lyrics of, “Singing in the Rain.”

Most of those who had moments before gasped in sympathetic reaction now looked at him as if he were crazy. I just smiled, for a I realized that he had consciously decided to take a negative and turn it into a positive. His joy was obviously genuine, and I for one was thankful for it.

The rest of my day was sprinkled with smiles, every time I remembered the gentleman who turned a splash of unexpected adversity into a splash of unexpected joyfulness.

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