A lollipop on the subway

It's not often that workers in highly visible jobs go out of their way to make you happy.

Mary Knox Merrill / The Christian Science Monitor / File
A woman (name withheld) reads a book on a Boston subway. Morning commutes don't ordinarily spark much interaction.

I'd just caught the subway train, landing on the first step just as the door was closing. It jostled me a little. So when the driver first approached, I was too distracted to see what he was doing.

Then I noticed the lollipop in his hand.

He was handing one to me – and to everyone else that morning on Boston's Riverside "T" line. Six years I've been riding and I mumbled thank you and went to my seat.

"Good morning, folks. I hope you'll have a wonderful day," he said over the loudspeaker, once he'd returned to his seat.

Next stop, same thing. Each new passenger paid their fare then got a lollipop.

People smiled. That glazed commuter stare gave way to something else. Midway through the trip, the driver was up again, passing out the candy and explaining his philosophy.

"I'm Bobby. I'm almost 50 years old and I refuse to be miserable," he said to passengers behind me: 'You should smile when you greet the people.' They call me Mr. Wonderful. But Bobby will suffice."

More lollipops. Then Bobby Diggins went back to his seat. As driver of the subway's second car, he didn't have the responsibility for driving.

Mr. Diggins has been working for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority since 2002, spreading his upbeat message. Ask him his name and he hands out a little handwritten note with his name, badge number, and the MBTA area where he works.

It's not often that workers in a highly visible position go out of their way to make people happy. When they do, it makes an impression. They deserve a little public appreciation.

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