Buying Happiness

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Ten years ago, after I visited Paris, friends asked if French people treated me all right. I told them yes. I told them I didn’t meet any unfriendly person in my trip. I was telling the truth.

On our recent trip, however, I had a different experience. At one restaurant in southern France, our waiter stood next to us, his chin pointing to a painting on the wall behind us. Whenever we spoke to him, he turned his head 45 degree, staring at something 10 feet away. When we stopped talking, he turned his head back, his chin still pointing to the painting. I had no idea how he managed to get our order right.

At a different restaurant in Southern France, when Wei asked our waiter a question about one particular wine, he replied, “You study the menu; I will come back.” And he never did. Later, when he brought Wei’s dinner to him, I was stunned. Everyone else in the group who ordered the same dish had several big chunks of beef in it, but Wei’s dish only contained the sauce and some beef strings.

For some reason, I decided to tip them anyway. To my surprise, the moment they had the tip in their hand, they changed to a totally different person. Their bodies relaxed; they looked quite charming; they even had a beautiful smile on their face.

Friends said I shouldn’t tip them“Think this way,” I said, “isn’t buying someone happiness the best way to spend your money?

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
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