By Peter Lawrence

11 year old mexican boy


Luis is an 11-year-old kid in Ajijic, Mexico. The first time I encountered him, he was street vending with a pleasant smile. I stopped him and asked him in Spanish how much the blueberries were. He answered me in English. It was more expensive than usual, and it didn’t look that good, either. So, I offered him the usual (lower) price I pay, but he declined with a nonchalant smile.

He then continued walking with his good cheer. He formed an impression on me. I do not know why, but it is always the lowly blue-collar workers that have formed indelible impressions on me by the manner in which they carry themselves, despite the relatively poor remuneration they receive: A post-woman in Singapore, drenched in sweat from the heat and humidity, greeting me with a smile as she delivered a piece of registered mail; a bus driver in San Jose, California, looking me in the eye and saying “Good morning” as I boarded the bus at the crack of dawn; the staff at a restaurant in Cupertino, California, cleaning the plates with a quiet smile and serenity. These are the people that constantly remind me on how I should carry myself, despite the circumstances. I don’t think I have succeeded yet in that goal, though.

One definition of good cheer is ‘courage.’ It takes courage to do what needs to be done day after day with a smile, despite whether it is appreciated or rewarded appropriately.

To all the ‘Luis’s’ out there: Courage!

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