The Simplicity of Excellence and Satisfaction

Today is a very sad day for me – I just found out that Melba, the token booth clerk at the Bowling Green 4 and 5 Subway Station, has left the MTA. I am heartbroken.

Most people don’t notice the token booth clerk as they leave the subway but Melba is hard to ignore. Every morning as the hordes of people exit the turnstiles and rush to the escalator on their way to work Melba would greet the crowd with a cheery and loud “GOOD MORNING EVERYONE, HAPPY THURSDAY! HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY.” She would do it all the time. It made people smile – every time.

I can’t tell you how often I have seen serious faces break into smile as a result of Melba’s greetings. Or the number of complete strangers who would have conversations with each other praising Melba’s cheeriness. I even remember two people in the elevator of my office complaining about the “imposter” when Melba was out.

Now I love Melba because she makes a difference in the world. Call me skeptical but I can’t imagine that being a clerk at a token booth would be a terribly fulfilling job: you are dealing with grouchy New Yorkers in a hurry all day long when their metro cards don’t work, giving directions and calming people down when the subway breaks down. Not a lot of appreciation there. So what I think is amazing about Melba is that she found a simple way to make a difference and to be satisfied in her job.

And that is pure genius.

I think the world needs more people like Melba – doing simple things that enhance the lives of others and add satisfaction to their work. In fact there is no longer much room in the world for those who do not take that extra step. Work is scarce and competition is frightful and just doing what is expected is no longer enough.

More on that when I write the next post. Meanwhile I am still sad Melba is gone…