EDITORIAL: Holiday cheer at food court

Some words of wisdom heard from an unlikely source

A trip to one of Greater Victoria’s shopping centres in December is a strangely exhausting experience for something purported to be so satisfying.

But amongst the bustle of gift-buying, Santa queues and the full-court press at the food court, there are still sometimes gems of wisdom to be found.

An employee at a particular Greek cuisine vendor was overheard this week not only encouraging his colleagues, but wishing customers well as they rushed by.

A cynic might safely assume this employee was simply attempting to drum up business in a place where hungry shoppers have a lot of dining choices, but one of his responses cut through the holiday madness like a carving knife through gyros meat.

“We see a lot of materialism here every day,” he said to an inquisitive customer. “What people need to realize is that happiness doesn’t come from outside; it’s found inside.”

The zen-like employee then spooned a dollop of tzatziki sauce atop a finished greek wrap before slapping his spatula back onto the counter in preparation for the next order.

Stunned, the customer scooped up his lunch and floated back into the sea of scurrying customers, enormous plastic bags widening his gait.

Perhaps the food service sage had the philosopher Aristotle top of mind when he put on his uniform that morning: “Durable virtue will belong to the happy man, and he will be happy throughout his life, for he will always opt for virtuous acts and thoughts and he will bear the hazards of life with nobility and live beyond reproach.”

It would be Grinch-like not to take the young Greek guru’s lesson to heart this holiday season as we go through our busy days.

Rather than rush about with a checklist and timer, why not make some real connections with family, friends, co-workers and, perhaps even a minimum wage mall employee tasked with handling the stressed out Christmas crowds.

It just might spark memories of the underlying reason for the season, which is peace on earth and good will to all.