One rainy night I was leaving Walmart with my teenage daughter. A young man – I’ll call him Alan – who’s a long-time employee, was rounding up stray carriages in the parking lot, carefully corralling them in a huge train to be pushed inside the store to be dried off.As he had done many times before, Alan quickly recognized us and happily beamed and waved hello.We exchanged a few simple pleasant greetings and he dutifully proceeded with his task of gathering wet carts from the far corners of the Walmart parking lot – all the while smiling and talking to no one in particular.

My daughter shook her head and sighed, “that’s so sad.”“What’s sad?” I replied.“Alan’s so nice.I feelsad that he’s challenged.”She was referring to the fact that Alan is mentally challenged.I thought about it and said, “No, it’s not sad at all.”By now my daughter looked at me as if I was the most insensitive woman on the planet.“Mom, that’s a terrible thing to say!”

I explained. Alan is always smiling.He’s pleasant to everyone and happy and smiling every time we see him – whether it’s hot or cold, raining or snowing – he does his job and never complains!Alan is content to live in the world he’s in.How many of us can say we feel the same?Most of us complain about our jobs and the money we make and the work we have to do.How many of us would be pleasant if we were paid minimum wage to drag carriages around in the pouring rain in a store parking lot?Most of us would probably be miserable and complain about the lazy customers who couldn’t put their own carriages away in the first place.

Not Alan.He proudly reports to work every day. He takes his job responsibilities seriously and performs them above and beyond what is expected.And he ALWAYS has a big hello and a cheery smile for everyone!In my opinion, we shouldn’t feel sorry or sad for Alan at all. He’s absolutely fine. As a matter of fact, Alan should feel sorry for US!Maybe WE are the ones who are CHALLENGED!

Love and laughter,

Mary (guest blogger)

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