Lessons Learned in Joy From a Food Stand Worker

I love my job for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that I get to travel. Because my job entails serving churches all over the country, I get to fly a lot! I typically fly the same airline every time I travel. And at the Orlando airport where I fly out, I always depart from the same handful of gates.


Each time I approach my gate, I hear a familiar voice booming above all the hustle and bustle of the airport– “Good morning! Today is a great day!” It’s Jose, who absolutely loves life and works at a quick-stop food stand. There is always a line of customers and he greets every single one of them with a huge smile and his catchphrase, “Good morning! Today is a great day!” In the same loud voice, he then compliments each of his customers, “Your hair is beautiful today,” or “M&M’s are a great choice!” He says “Good morning” because he works the early shift. I’ve seen him have this exuberance and joy at 5:30 am– it takes a special person to be joyful that early in the morning!


Jose has taught me a few things about loving your work and having #WorkJoy:


1) Be the purpose in your work.

Your purpose at work isn’t just the task at hand– it’s also who you are and what you bring to your work. Jose’s purpose is not to sell food—that’s not where he finds his value. His value is in the smiles he brings to the people he serves.


2) Being joyful means being different.

In a world of unhappy, grumpy people, those who love life and what they do stand out. Everyone else in the airport has their head down or their nose in a phone, hoping the person next to them won’t talk during the flight. Jose is a light in a dark place and he stands out. I don’t remember anyone else that works at the Orlando airport, but I remember Jose.


3) Don’t wait for joy to come to you.

Do you set out each morning to bring joy and light to those around you, or do you sit back and wait for someone else to bring joy into the room? Are you looking for a job to make you fulfilled and happy? Stop. Joy, like love, is a choice. Choose joy. Choose to bring joy to the job you have now and to the people you work with.


4) Give and get. Sow and reap.

It’s a biblical principle. Smiles given aren’t just reciprocated, they are infectious. Jose’s big smile not only makes everyone in front of him smile, but everyone in his vicinity smiles! My guess is that this spreading of joy fuels him. He loves to bring joy and see people smile. Be joyful and see if it catches on!


Are there people around you who contribute to your daily joy? Take notice of what it is that makes them easy to be around and pay it forward!

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