Later, I saw her again. This time, something made me stop to talk to her. I enquired about the green tea products. She was articulate – explaining clearly and systematically the different products and their benefits. She was skilful – pouring tea from the different pots as she spoke while maintaining eye contact with me. Finally, she won me over. I bought one of the products. Her selling skills transformed me from an uninterested shopper into a willing customer.
After the purchase, I thought I also bought the licence to be a busybody. I asked her about her background and working experience. I was surprised to know that she is a college student. She started her part-time work at the pushcart stall four years ago when she was still in school. Today, she is in college and still works part-time for the same company. I admire her attitude! She is only a student but she does her sales like a professional.
She speaks English fluently so I assumed that she was educated in English, or that her parents speak English. But, no, I was wrong. She came from a Chinese-speaking family and was educated in a Chinese school. I salute her spirit! She does not allow any limitations to handicap her, and uses her 'boleh' (can do) attitude to rise to the challenge.
It is an uplifting experience. This young lady makes me believe that investing our time in our youths can be a rewarding effort. We should find time to participate in youth programmes that help to nurture their skills, overcome their limitations and build their resilience. They are the ones who carry the hope of building a better country and a better world.
If youths have an opportunity to learn to do unglamorous work and to take pride in doing it well, I am sure they will develop a strong character that will help them survive in the future.
My experience makes me view the humble pushcart very differently. I see it as a great potential in character-building.
By the way, if you are in Mid Valley and see a pushcart stall with the sign 'NISHIO', I hope you will support the sales girl with the pretty face and lovely smile.