I was driving the forklift today.
I was getting something down for a guest when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed her son hiding behind her, eyes wide in amazement at how magical the forklift must have seemed.
His mom laughed and said, “He has so many forklift toys. He’s obsessed with them!”
After I got down what she needed, I asked the boy if he would like to check out the forklift. His eyes grew in excitement, and he looked up at his mother for confirmation. She said yes, and picked him up to look at all the knobs.
I let him move the forks up and down, tilt them back and forth, and shift from left to right.
“Why don’t you try the middle button here, on the steering wheel?” I suggested.
His little hand could barely press the horn, but when he heard the loud BEEP, his eyes lit up like a fresh Christmas tree.
He looked me dead in the eyes, and said “I wanna be like you when I grow up!”
His mother and I laughed, but afterwards, the whole encounter made me rather emotional.
When I was his age, I wanted to be Superman. To be leaping buildings in a single bound, to be faster than a speeding bullet, to be more powerful than a locomotive. But here I was, stuck in some dead end retail job, and this boy tells me he wants to be like me.
It opened my eyes to the fact that we love to bemoan our lot in life, to think we have it so bad, when really, we could be the definition of perfect to someone else. Our lives, our jobs, the people we know, the ones we love, all of those could be the very things someone has spent their whole life dreaming and wishing and praying for.
I guess I never thought that I would be anyone’s idea of making it, let alone for some kid. But to that kid, I was Superman.
And that made my day.