Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Candy Man

The first time I met Sam, I was in the midst of my strength training routine. As I strained and sweated to lift the weights just a few more times, he came around the corner and – extending an old-fashioned doctor’s bag toward me – said brightly, “Would you like a piece of candy?”

I stopped what I was doing and peered into the open pouch on the side of his bag to find a multihued assortment of hard candies. I smiled and asked, "Are there butterscotch discs in there?”

“Oh, yes … I’ve got those,” he said with confidence as he dug his hand into the bag and plucked out a golden disc.

“Thank you!” I said, with the giddiness of a child surveying her haul on Halloween night.

He turned to leave, then stopped and glanced at the weights I was using, “You know those come in lighter versions.”

I laughed.

I soon learned his very appropriate nickname - Sam the Candy Man. I also learned what a treat it is to watch him work the room of fellow ‘Silver Sneakers’ exercise classmates, offering them candy and bringing joy to their faces.

Outgoing and jovial, his response to the question “How are you, Sam?” is – with 99.9 percent certainty – always a hearty “Super Darn Whoppin’!” And, as if he has planned it because he knows I love them, there is always a butterscotch disc sitting atop the array of sweets when he extends his bag to me.

I do realize there are a couple rules being broken with this story. The first time I was approached by Sam, I did – in fact – take candy from a stranger. The very opposite of the rule we drill into our children’s brains.

Second, the candy is being distributed and accepted at a fitness club where, it seems, most people would be working to thwart the effects of such sweet temptations.

But, these broken rules are countered by the simple happiness and feeling of camaraderie his smile, his kind greeting, and his sharing of a small piece of candy bring to my day.

Today, Sam was wearing a shirt with the caption “SAM-tastic!” splashed across the front. I wholeheartedly agree. And, to that I would add “Sweet”.

26 comments:

beth said...

Oh, I love your anecdotes! Beautiful story--and he does sound SAM-tastic!!

Yat-Yee said...

What an uplifting story. Our local indie bookstore owner is one such upbeat fellow too and the other day I was so grumpy when I wandered into his store and just the energetic and optimistic way he went about helping his customers and stocking books cheered me up. What would we do without such optimists?

storyqueen said...

SAM-tastic is too funny!(I would totally wear a shirt that said SAM-I-AM-tastic

Stephanie Faris said...

I've found butterscotch and mints are both great ways to stave off cravings. I stick one of those in my mouth and it satisfies me temporarily and keeps me from eating something much worse.

I love people like this. We should all be more giving and reach out to those around us in little ways like this.

MG Higgins said...

What a sweetheart! How lucky you are to have someone in your life who brings such joy. (And who cares about a little sugar.)

Lazy Writer said...

Rules or no, Sam sounds like my kind of guy. I love butterscotch discs.

Kelly said...

That does crack me up that Sam is handing out candy at a fitness place...and that people are gobbling them up!
There is an old man from when I was a teen who used to photograph sports for the newspaper. He always gave out a piece of bubble gum to everyone. I've seen him a few times in the last year in town, and now he hands out carmel bullseyes! And he remembered me from my sports days. So nice of a man to share a sweet. This old man seems like a lonely guy, so it is so nice of him to reach out to others.

PJ Hoover said...

Very awesome story. Happiness is so important as is touching other people's lives in a positive way.

CariJ said...

What a "sa-weet" story! Loved it.

Jeff B said...

Now that just put a smile on my face!

Kelly H-Y said...

Beth! Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoy them ... I have fun with them.

Yat-Yee - He sounds absolutely wonderful ... isn't it fun to have such individuals in our lives?!

StoryQueen! Ohhhh, I like that!!!

Stephanie - You are so right ... it really does work!

MG - Isn't it fun?!

Lazy Writer - They are one of my absolute favorites!

Kelly - Isn't it a riot?! Every once in a while, someone will turn down the candy ... I can't even imagine! :-) Love your story too!

PJ! Thank you! You said it ... it's so important!

Cari! Nice! :-) Thanks!

Jeff! I'm so glad! It definitely brings a smile to my face ... was hoping it would do the same for others!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I LOVE this story! Sam, the candy man. The world needs more Sams, indeed.
Butterscotch candies are my favorite!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

That's so sweet -- no pun intended. What a nice guy and all the more reason to accept some broken rules!

Lisa and Laura said...

Candy + Workout = Heaven. Seriously. Sam needs to come to my gym!

Danyelle said...

Awww! I wish more people were like that. I wish I was more like that. :) Thanks for sharing and brightening my day. :D

Cathy C. Hall said...

This reminded me of when my daughter was about 4 and she had to dance with "The Candyman" in her first recital. Except that she TOTALLY freaked and refused to go on stage! So, there were all these little girls dancing around the Candyman, and when he left the stage, my daughter came out from the wings. Everyone thought she'd had a potty emergency :-)

P.S. Sam is my kind of Candyman.

Sarah Laurence said...

The butterscotches are the best – what a sweet story. Rules can be broken.

CC said...

Too cute!!!!!

taralazar said...

Wow, Sam sounds like such a treat himself.

Amy Tate said...

Kelly! You should enter this in the Cup of Comfort for Couples. They've just extended the deadline to Oct. 31. I LOVE this story - how romantic!

The Things We Carried said...

I love it. It reminds me of someone I know.

Sheri said...

Hi Kelly. I fell off the blog-o-sphere and I couldn't get up... Luckily, I had one of those little remotes around my neck and help was just a click away. It took quite sometime though for the blog-o-sphere ambulance to make it to my house from their corner of the web-o-sphere. Quite a lot of traffic I understand.

I only JUST read your Aug 4 posting about how I awarded you the Scribbler award. Better late then never, I hope - but I wanted to say thank you for the kind things you said about me.

Love the new (to me) photo of you and your family standing with instead of lying in the grass. I loved that one, too. But this one is really nice as well.

Kelly H-Y said...

Rebecca! Indeed ... and, I agree, they are the best! :-)

Eileen! Yes ... in this case, the rules are made to be broken! :-)

Lisa/Laura! Amen to that!! I love the combo!

Danyelle! So glad you enjoyed it!

Cathy! Loved your story! I can just imagine!

Sarah - They ARE the best ... and, I agree, these ones are made to be broken!

CC - Thanks!

Tara - Totally!

Amy! Thank you, thank you for the heads-up!! I truly appreciate it!

Meredith - Isn't it fun to have people like that in our lives?!

Sheri! You are hilarious ... oh, how your comment made me laugh! Welcome back! :-) And, actually ... that picture is pretty new ... I just changed it last week. So glad you liked it! :-)

Beth Kephart said...

I am always so touched by the instructors of Silver Sneakers in my gym. By the entire community there.

And I love butterscotch!

Hilary said...

Sam sure is a day-brightener.. as is your account of him. Everyone should have a Sam. :)

Kelly H-Y said...

Beth! So true ... they are just the loveliest folks ... so fun to chat with!

Hillary! Indeed ... everyone should! Glad it brightened your day!