Tag Archives: This is Water

High Fives and Fist Bumps

Derek is a clerk at the gas station closest to my house. I patronize it for gas and food items weekly. I am not a patient person and going to the store is an errand that needs to be accomplished as quickly as possible. The experience should be efficient and routine:

I walk in grab a gallon of milk checking to make sure it has the best date on it. Set in on the counter and grab my card.

“Do you have a rewards card?”

“No,” as I slide my card through the reader.

“Debit or credit?”

“Credit” as I wait for the transaction to go through.

“Do you want a receipt?”


“Have a nice day.” or some other meaningless greeting as I am already heading toward the door in less than two minutes from the time I entered. When I get in my car if the same song is still on the radio I know that it was the perfect experience for the task driven person that I am.

The first time Derek ran my transaction was different. While I waited for the card to go through he said

“Free high five?” while holding up his hand.

I declined.

He continued undeterred, “fist bump?” pointing his fist toward me.

“No thanks,” smiling but still too uncomfortable making contact with a stranger.

“Elbows?” as he held out his arm towards me. I politely refused, but left feeling happy and truly appreciating his enthusiasm in what most people consider a boring job.

Every time I buy milk I find myself hoping Derek is working. I am still in a hurry, but I do give him “knuckles” now. I also have noticed that some of the other clerks are friendlier and seems like his enthusiasm has rubbed off on them. How many people look forward to seeing a store clerk?

I have a student who gives me high fives sometimes. She asks for them. Just for fun and it is her way of being cheerful. I have started giving them out to other students. It is a simple act, but they like it.

As the year winds down I find myself nagging some students to stay on task or finish work that they need to get done to earn credit. It is for their own good I tell myself, but it is not effective. It makes interactions with me unpleasant. This week I am going to give more high fives and encourage students to get stuff done in a positive way.

Like me, some students might say “no thanks” the first time, but I will keep it up to encourage them to finish strong and bring a smile to their face.

This video also influenced me in regards to this post. It is worth ten minutes of your time if you haven’t seen it.