Lessons Learned from the Sam’s “Z”ample Lady


Terrors lurked in the parking lot around every corner. Between puddles, slush, ice, wild shopping carts, cars pulling out and pulling in, there seemed to be no end to potential disasters. I grabbed the hand of my youngest and insisted he stay close while I watched my oldest like a hawk.

The inside of Sam’s Club didn’t bring a lot of relief. The store teemed with people. Traffic jams appeared around each turn.  My list of only 8 or so items seemed entirely too long. The impending winter storm apparently drove everyone to the store at once.

“Mama, mama, can we get zamples?” the youngest begged. That’s not a misspelling. At six, he finally pronounces most words correctly, but this one word has stuck. I really just wanted to get in and out, but I promised we would try to find a few.

The first sample we found was stuffed salmon. Of course, that received a snarl. Next, we found pound cake with fresh berries. Also a no go. The whey protein drink didn’t hold much glamour, either.

Finally, after heading to the back of the store, there was a stand that looked promising. Mini corn dog bites!

We approached the cart. Austin waited for me to hand him a napkin filled with potential goodness. He has finally learned that he is not allowed to reach for the item himself. He’s gotten snapped at by a few too many of those sample-givers.

The lady behind the cart lit up the room with her smile. She held a large squeeze bottle of ranch dressing in her hand. On each corn dog she drew lines. “Look!” she exclaimed! “They look like footballs!”

Joy oozed out of her every pore.

“I love this,” I commented. “Such a great way to bring joy to your job.”

“Can you believe I get paid to do this?” she replied with her eyes bright.

I could make a list of a lot of jobs I would like to have, but I just don’t think handing out samples at Sam’s Club would be one of them. As an introvert, the thought of interacting with that many people would be overwhelming. What a blessing to encounter someone so excited over handing out food!

Her enthusiasm was contagious. I walked away and nearly went to the freezer and stuck a box of those corn dogs in my cart. Remembering that they aren’t exactly health food, I refrained.

I would love to be that kind of person wouldn’t you? The kind that can bring laughter and life to even the most mundane of tasks. A person that can spread happiness in dismal, or even just ho-hum, circumstances. A person who fills others up simply through my own contentment.

You may work a 9-5 job, stay home with little ones, work part-time, or maybe you’re retired. Whatever it is, do it with enthusiasm. Find a way to bring joy to the daily grind. Make a smiley face out of the pancakes, play a practical joke on a co-worker, treat someone to lunch, just think of one little thing that could bring a smile to the face of the people around you.

I offer my thanks to this sweet lady who helped me remember that joy is a choice…one that we should choose everyday!


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