It was a few days after Halloween and I was driving across the country.
Sixteen hours. Alone.
I was constantly searching for cheap(er) gas, only stopping at fast food restaurants where I had coupons, and paying half of my life savings to the state of West Virginia in tolls.
I got cranky fast. At two dollars a pop, those tolls were adding up fast. It cost me more to drive through West Virginia than I spent on food, by the way.
But then I got an idea.
At the next toll booth, I pleasantly greeted the man. What an awful job he has. I handed him a five dollar bill. He gave me my change. I took it and extended my hand with a Baby Ruth in it.
"Happy Halloween," I said. He laughed. Not a chuckle, not a smirk, not a courteous "that was a joke attempt that wasn't really funny." No, a full-belly laugh.
The gate went up, I wished him a good day and drove off. Maybe his day really was good. After all, he had a fun size Baby Ruth to munch on until the next driver came.
But my day was good. I had "miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep" but I also had his laughter bottled up in my memory.
All it took was a piece of candy and a smile. It didn't hurt me a bit.
I've heard it said it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. The huge bag of Trick or Treat candy was sitting in my passenger seat just waiting, begging to be eaten (maybe that's why I spent so little on food). I don't even like Baby Ruth. But from this guy's laugh, he does.
Make a difference today. It doesn't hurt much. Laughter overrides cranky.