The Car Park Lady

The other day I went to Central World (yes I go there so often you’d wonder if I had a stake in it) and found a little box of happiness sitting in the car park giving out parking tickets to all those who entered.  Her name is Kanthong (Golden bowl) and she is just happiness all around, despite having what I must consider to be one of the most boring jobs in this world:  she keys in license plates and hands out parking cards to all those who enter central world.

Traffic was awful, it was more than awful and beyond description.  It was raining outside, end month, and some convention was being held.  Roads were jammed packed outside, and even just coming up the garage ramp to the 3,000 car car-park, there was a long line of cars.  I had been stuck on the ramp for a good half hour and moods were not so good.  Others in the car and myself included were getting slightly bored, annoyed, and tired.  You are stuck in a box with nowhere to go.

Then I reached the car park attendant box and reached out my hand to get the car park card.   Being somewhat in a zombie state, I was surprised to suddenly be faced with a bubbly smiling face of Kanthong.  She sat there in her tiny little box telling me that there was a lot of traffic due to the convention.  I asked her for details and for a few minutes we had a good conversation.  I couldn’t move and neither could she, and so there we were face to face having a pleasant talk about the state of the traffic.  She was all smiles, happy and jolly.  Like a happy girl getting a treat, even though there were none for her.   She seemed to be genuinely happy just to make conversation.

Her conversation and smiley face made all the tiredness go away.  It made me happier and the effect fell on others in the car.  We laughed at how pleasant she was and wondered how lonely she must get sitting there all day giving out car park cards. (Yes, labour in Thailand is relatively inexpensive.)  I have to say it made the rest of my day quite pleasant.

I went back again another day when there was no traffic and so spoke to her about how nice and empty it was in the morning.  Again I was treated with a jolly smiley face that resonated nothing but happiness.  She is indeed a happy lady.

All her happiness makes me think.   Here is a lady who has probably one of the most boring jobs in the world, yet she does it with such pleasure.  Hundreds of cars pass by her each day, maybe a thousand, but there she is all happy and jolly.

You can’t say that she has a good work environment, for she is in a box, in front of a computer, under neon light, breathing in carbon dioxide.  The aircondition probably helps a little, but I don’t think much.

How does she do it?  I don’t know, but I think it will have to be along the lines of being happy with what she has.  If you see the good side of things, then life isn’t so bad.  She has a job, she doesn’t have to be out working in the hot sun or rain, and if she’s friendly, she gets to talk to the customers passing by.  She gets to make someone else happy.

I have to say, some who have all the goods in this world, still complain they have a bad life. An unhappy life.  Nothing is ever good enough.  I have one, now I want two.  The list is endless.  There is no happiness if you search for it from external factors.

Looking at Kanthong, it seems that happiness is internal.  It’s a state of mind.  You can have one of the most boring jobs in this world, yet be happy, have a smiling jolly face, and be so sweet I wonder if she shouldn’t be in customer relations.  I hope her happy smiling personality, helps her get along in life, get a better job, and have a better life.

She is someone I’d remember.  Each time I take that particular entrance, I’d now take a little pause to peer inside the box to see if its the pleasant Kanthong.  A character to remember, and a reminder to me that happiness depends upon your state of mind.  Even little things, can make one happy.

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