Why Norma gets my vote

HERE’S a feel-good tale for you.

Norma, the bakery department assistant at my local Spar, is a gem; highly efficient, professional, informed and sincerely friendly. She’s a poster child for customer service.

I told her manager this and he said that Norma had been rapidly promoted from floor cleaner to bakery assistant quite recently.

It was then that I remembered Norma from the fruit ‘n veg section; she always did more than clean floors: she stopped me buying weepy-looking flowers once and also suggested in-season fruit above dusty, out-of-season oranges.

I remember how impressed I was with Norma; she had the X factor.

And now look – here she is, running the hot roll and bread section like a pro.

There walks a queen! A ruler of her world, whether she wields a mop or rolling pin.

When I shared the story with a few people, the response was deafening in its admiration for this unknown soldier of retail in a dot of a village.

The few among them who know Norma agreed that she deserved promotion heaped upon bonus, so outstanding is her customer service.

Non-locals, who don’t know her, deliberated that it might even be worth the grocery trip down south, just to be served by someone who gives a damn about the freshness of your bread.

One delightful girl, a farmer from Bloemfontein, nominated Norma for president.

“The world needs you,” she said.

What Norma knows is that putting your all into achieving greatness in the most simple of situations, is one of the most mystical, telling and important things that anyone can do.

I think that when we are constantly let down by the people we trust to guide and lead us – the ‘‘important’’ minions; the ones richly paid to do their jobs, much of which involves nothing more than manufacturing paper money and pushing pens around parliament – the wound left by their corruptions and failures leaves us vulnerable enough to appreciate what really matters.

One might read a self-help book every week and still be no closer to understanding the thrill of sincere, simple service to others, rather than self.

We read about it, we promise to do better, but it’s when someone like Norma skips off the page and goes live, that we actually get it.

The more we tweet, talk and post about the Norma types of this world, the more we’ll erode the power base that blasts ne’er-do-wells into positions of influence, whether by design or genetics.

And then we, the people, will decide who is worthy of titles.

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