The story of a guy with Downs Syndrome, some grocery bags and an idea straight from the heart.

By Paul Michael on 11 February 2008 (Updated 10 May 2009) 10 comments
Photo: OctopusHat

Something I have often heard from teachers, mentors and my own parents is the following phrase: “Be the best at what you do, whatever you do.” It’s a lesson I have tried to live up to most of my life. But the following story, well, it really illustrates the point.

Most of us try and be good at what we do. In our daily jobs, we try and be a great employee. In family life, we try and be a good husband, wife, father or mother. But how many of us strive to be the best that we do, regardless of the task?

That brings us to Joe (not his real name), a man who was born with Down Syndrome and has more reason than most to feel sorry for himself. Of course, Joe isn’t like that. His condition makes most jobs out of his reach, but that didn’t stop him from getting a position at the local grocery store as a bagger.

A bagger is not a particularly glamorous job. It’s dull, repetitive work and the pay isn’t exactly wonderful. Joe didn’t see it that way. He wanted to be the best bagger in the store, if not, the city. So, he had an idea.

He went home and, with the help of his father, typed up inspirational sayings and quotes. Then, he cut them out and took them to work. Every time he put groceries in a bag, he would add one of the little inspirational quotes. It made Joe happy to spread a little joy, and the customers loved it, too.

In fact, they really loved it. So much so that pretty soon, people were lining up to get their groceries bagged by Joe. It didn’t matter if another checkout was open, people would stand in line to meet Joe and get one of his inspirational sayings with their weekly shop.

From a mundane job, Joe created something extraordinary. He got tips, too, which was not the goal but certainly helped him out. He did something remarkable and genuine, and everyone around him felt inspired. That is the embodiment of being the best at what you do.

Take that story to heart and let it sink in. What could you do better in your daily routine? It doesn’t need to take a lot of time or money, but just a little thought. Put your ideas to work and who knows what the outcome may be. It could turn an ordinary business into an overnight success. It could turn an average day at work into something exciting. “Be the best at what you do, whatever you do” are words to live by.

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Guest's picture
Naomi

This is one of the best stories I've read in awhile. Thanks for sharing it. :)

Paul Michael's picture

I heard it when I was driving, I pulled over to keep listening. Then I came straight back home to write it down.

Guest's picture
~Dawn

Wonderful!
Absolutely wonderful story, I love it!

Guest's picture

Where did you hear this? Where does this take place?

Guest's picture

I saw a web-video with an account of this story and it was very moving. In fact, I shared it with my boss and several co-workers and they were equally moved. It just goes to show you that service from the heart it worth far more than all the marketing dollars a company can throw at a marketing plan.

Guest's picture
April

Thanks for sharing this story. You made my day! I will be thinking about this for a long time...

Guest's picture
Maaka

Great story, Paul. Thanks for sharing. I bet the Good News Network would like to hear about this guy.

Please note, however, it's Down syndrome, not Downs.

Paul Michael's picture

That's the British English spelling of Down Syndrome.  But that still doesn't excuse me, as I missed out the apostrophe. A lesson learned...I won't cut and paste from online dictionaries anymore! (I would change the title, but it may have been linked to from other blogs...sorry).

Guest's picture
realserendipity

http://www.stservicemovie.com/

This is the video I think everyone is mentioning. Its something Ive watched a few times when I feel overwhelmed by my own customer service job. It makes me realize that every call I take at my own job is an oppurtunity to make a difference. Cheesy yeah, but it seems to help

Guest's picture
Joy Smith

It's the stories like this one that make my day so much brighter. Thank you for sharing this!