Lesson Learned at a Hot Dog Stand

On a day we're focused on huge issues, allow me to share a small one, about a small guy, actually.

I guess I'll just call him the "hot dog guy." I have no idea what his name is. I just knew that when I saw him, I was impressed by him.

He was young, maybe 21 — tops — and at an airport, working at one of those obscure hot dog stands amid what seemed like a mile-long corridor of similarly obscure gates and seating areas.

Planes were running late. My plane was running very late. So, shock of shocks, I sought out food. What I didn't plan to seek out was a comic.

Here was a guy who clearly didn't treat the obscure drudgery of his job as a job or drudgery.

He joked with customers. And he had a field day with me.

When I asked for a chili dog at this shop that promised it had all sorts of hot dogs, he blurted out, "Sorry, we don't have any hot dogs."

He was kidding, but he had me going.

He laughed with everyone. He was fast and courteous, upbeat and hilarious. Picture Robin Williams (search) in a smock.

In of all places, this nondescript snack stand in a nondescript section of what lately has been a series of nondescript airports for me.

Here was a guy giving his best in a job some might suspect others his age would grudgingly show only their worst. But not this guy, not this day and not, I suspect, any day.

I overheard him talking to a co-worker about tough classes he had that night. I pictured him juggling this job and these customers and those books and I thought, much is said about the young in this country and their indifference in this country.

But looking at this guy, I was full of hope. Which was pretty neat, considering only minutes earlier, dealing with a late plane, I was full of rage.

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