A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
From June 30
For the past few shifts I’ve been working the Tumble Bug. It is basically like the Scrambler, except it gets off the ground. That is to say there are seven cars in a circle that rotate around the center. That center is on an arm that rotates around a central point. So people are moving in a circle, around a larger circle, all the while going at an angle that gets from ground level up about five meters.
The people who ride it largely fall into three vocal categories. The first is silence. It is the one I fall into. People just savor the ride and don’t feel the need to vocalize it.
The second category is screaming. These are usually kids and adolescents. I don’t think most of them are scared. These are the same people who start screaming when a ride starts, before anything of note has happened.
The third category is talking, shouting, cursing, and singing. They are being loud, but it may or may not have to do with the ride.
And then there are the few exceptions.
One notable one a couple days ago was a girl, maybe about ten. She wore a pink hoodie and had her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail. She was laughing. Not quite maniacally. Not quite hysterically. But laughing, continuously. As if the ride was a great source of amusement in the more traditional sense of the word.
As she laughed, so did I start to chuckle. Then laugh. She was having a blast and it was infectious.
When the ride came to an end, I approached her. “Thank you.”
She looked at me quizzically.
“I heard you laughing. You seemed to really be enjoying the ride. And that was awesome. You were so genuinely entertained and that came across. Your laughing made me laugh, and I’m smiling that much more for it. You’ve brightened my day. So thank you. You are easily the best guest we’ve had on the ride today. I just wanted to let you know that you’ve made my day.”
She thanked me in return, and then she left.
While I was loading the next ride she came back. A bit bashfully, but mostly beaming with a secret joy, she came up to the fence and waved to get my attention. When I came over she smiled and reached into her pocket. She handed me a business card-sized paper.
And then she ran off again.
I looked at the card. It was a Wow Card.
One of the managers of the park gives out about five of these a day. She hands them to guests who meet her criteria, whatever those may be. The instructions are simple. If there is someone here who goes above and beyond, someone who makes your day extra special, someone who really wows you, give this card to them.
I stood there, holding my Wow Card. Some people work for months at the park before they receive one. Some people there still haven’t gotten one after a year or two on the roster. And here, on my fourth shift, I was holding evidence that I had been so superlatively kind and fun that a guest put me on a level beyond the generally out-there, fun employees I’m working with.
I beamed. She had made my day. Her laughing had given me enough energy to finish my shift. Now the card would ensure I did it floating.