More days than not, I enter a federally controlled area by presenting a federally controlled ID. Contract security personnel maintain multiple access points, 24/7/365, rain, shine, hot, or cold. They match a face to a picture and allow you to proceed. These are usually momentary anonymous meetings and typically a thank you is all that is exchanged.
Well lately I have been spending just a few more of those moments at my access point. As I enter, it is always dark, and this time of year, cold. The heat in my car allows me to arrive in shirt sleeves. I know it’s cold because the security guard is bundled in heavy jacket, gloves, stocking cap, and face warmer. As she exits the guard shack she smiles.
In spite of the hour, and my mood, I smile back. She verifies my ID, and comments how I never complain about the cold. I moved here from Colorado. In another life I loved the winter.
I call her by her first name, she calls me by my last. She said she was cold this morning, as she wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day. She commented on the blanket I happened to have lying on the front seat and asked how I was doing.
We only have a few moments to share, but I know she works long hours during the week so she can spend weekends with who, and what, she loves. She is on her feet all day. I’m sure that can be hard.
She shares her smile freely and I’m sure to her everyone is special. But, to me, it feels like I’m special. She is defined by her work, not by her job and I think she may know that.
She is still outside. Still doing her work. Still smiling, and I hope, still wrapped up in her new blanket.