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Signs of Life

In Tallahassee, Bronough Street has been under construction for seemingly ever. It’s a bumpy and slow-going ride, so I try to avoid this route whenever possible.

Sometimes by habit I find myself there and quickly remember that I should’ve gone another way.

However, the last several times I’ve taken Bronough, one of the road workers will catch my eye. He’s a plump fellow donning a neon orange safety vest, whose duty is to hold the “slow” sign.

That’s a pretty generic road worker description, and the image of someone like him would usually flow in and out of my brain, barely registering.

But there’s something different about this one.

Sign in one hand, he keeps the other hand free to wave enthusiastically to every passerby. He flashes a constant toothy, gold grin, but it gets even bigger when somebody waves back to him.

It’s almost as if his day is made every time he gets noticed. He tries hard to acknowledge every single person in every single car, even if he has to wave and smile continuously.

I imagine to myself that he not only takes pride in keeping the traffic flowing, but that he secretly hopes to startle us from the mundane and surprise us with such a sweet and unexpected gesture.

It’s definitely a “detour” from the usual when I’m caught up with everyday life – my job, bills, chores and any given stress of the moment.

How easy it is to get wrapped up in shoulda, coulda, woulda and why, why not, when and how.

I can’t help but giggle, smile and wave back just as emphatically to him every single time. For a second we share a little moment – me in my air-conditioned car, him sitting in the blazing sun. Two different people who don’t know each other from Adam’s housecat, but recognizing a momentary spark of common ground.

I can’t remember the last time I interacted with a person who demonstrated such a great attitude. I really can’t remember the last time I’ve had such a great attitude. All of a sudden, I felt like trying a little harder.

 We all have a calling, but we sometimes forget to capitalize on the awesome things about our lives and jobs, and we focus on the haves and have nots.

This will almost always us down or  us from catching our limit or reaching our potential.

I’m not sure how much the Bronough Street worker loves to hold a sign for countless exhausting hours in the endless Florida heat. But, he certainly seems to enjoy brightening the day of everybody he sees. He has clearly found something worthwhile and of value to him despite every other not-so-perfect circumstance.

Today my coworker and friend, Linda, and I wound up on Bronough on the way back to the office from lunch.

We both looked at each other and laughed when we saw our friend with the contagious gusto. Linda had seen him before, too, and said that she was delighted and surprised to see somebody taking pleasure in whatever they do, no matter what it is.

Life might not always be exciting or glamorous, but we certainly have a lot to be thankful for and have the opportunity to make the best of it no matter where we stand – even if it’s on the side of a rough, uneven, congested road.

><(("> Mandy Stark

Mandy is a ><(("> Friend of Catch Your Limit, a marketing firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To contact Mandy email her at or to learn more about Catch Your Limit, visit

Posted in Change, Creativity/Innovation, Fun, Leadership, Miscellaneous.


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  1. Erinn Streeter says

    The city did a smart thing when they hired him. The construction traffic on Bronough is the pits, but that guy – he just makes it all seem not so bad after all.

  2. Kaplan says

    that is always part of the business, its either you look at it positively or be disappointed with how things goes

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