Enthusiasm: Take Some and Pass It On

While impatiently waiting for the bus on a cold and rainy New York City afternoon, I couldn’t help but interrupt my brain’s running ticker of thoughts (which included some not so nice choice words for Mother Nature) to take notice of a particularly entertaining gentleman nearby.

At first, his jibber jabber about the Playwright Celtic Pub’s $10 lunch menu was a bunch of white noise muffled by the blare of sirens, honking and chatter. But given that he was delivering his shpiel approximately three feet from the bus stop, I had no choice but to tune in. Dressed in a snazzy wool coat with an equally snazzy scarf and fedora, this gentleman, let’s call him George (which I think is actually his name, but I cannot confirm that), was more than happy to stand outside – in the less than desirable weather no less – informing each and every passerby of the Pub’s meal deals and drink specials. “It’s 5 p.m. somewhere – come in for a beer and stay all day!” he shouted with the excitement of a kid who had just lost his first tooth. “We have Jameson for the fellas, Cosmos for the ladies. Everybody’s happy!” he roused. I was waiting to hear, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” because I’d swear George was plucked straight out of the cast of the Broadway musical Newsies if it weren’t for his, well, seasoned maturity.

Miraculously, George’s strategy was working. I witnessed people of all sorts stopping in their tracks, chuckling at George’s zealous approach, and after a spirited exchange, head inside for a beer and a bite! I gave him the thumbs up for his fruitful efforts, and he shot me an I-can’t-believe-this-is-working-either grin before getting back to business (which literally included tap dancing on the sidewalk). My bus finally arrived, and thanks to George, I climbed on board with an extra skip in my step.

George, a complete stranger, was literally contagious (and I don’t mean with the flu). After just a few minutes in his presence, I caught his enthusiasm and it changed the course of my day. As the week went on, I recognized several more folks who shared his gusto. The taxi driver who tested his knock knock jokes out on me during our brief encounter and roared with laughter each time he delivered the punch line. The cosmetic clerk at Sephora who spoke about mascara like she was laying out my options for brain surgery. Most recently, while on a road trip to the North Fork Long Island wineries (side note: this place is seriously worth a visit), I was blown away by the zeal of the staff at each winery. Whether we were talking reds or restaurants, one was more enthusiastic than the next. The passion of the wine gurus truly made our entire experience (and the vino helped too).

Enthusiasm is everywhere if you pay attention – at the dry cleaners, in the coffee shop, heck, even on the subway. And when you are lucky enough to stumble upon it, soak it up and pay it forward. It’s a wonderful and fulfilling gift to share with strangers and friends alike. And it’s free! Not everybody is George or the taxi driver/aspiring comedian, but we can all kick up our gusto a notch – regardless of what it is we are doing – and find passion in the little things.

And fortunately for all of us, a little enthusiasm can go a long way.

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