By Marci Narum

It happens to all of from time to time. We have “One of those days.”

And I was having one. I woke up kind of crabby.

My husband Jim and I had been on a week-and-a-half long trip to southern California to visit family. The drive back included a couple of tours—through Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park. Incredibly beautiful works of nature. God is truly the original landscape artist.

On our last night, we stayed in Grand Junction, Colorado, and set out the next morning for what would be a long drive. I was sick of being in the car, and not looking forward to another 12 hours of it.

We stopped at a gas station to get ice, and while Jim filled the ice coolers I went in to get a cup of coffee.

I was going to need a big one.

As I walked in, I heard a woman’s chipper voice inside, greeting other customers who were leaving.

“You guys have a great day!”

My first thought was those customers must be local. She was talking to her regulars.

But as I was putting cream in my coffee, I heard the same voice from before behind me say, “Good morning, Ma’am.”

I don’t typically respond to being called “ma’am,” so I didn’t turn around right away. But when I did, sure enough, she was talking to me.

I smiled and said, “Good morning.”

She said, “I love your hair! It really stands out!”

I have to tell you, this was “vacation hair.” No significant effort. AT ALL. My hair is curly and untamed without effort and management, so yes… it does tend to “stand out” at times like this.

But I got the sense her comment was genuine.

We talked—maybe five minutes—long enough for me to learn a lot about her, and based on what I gathered she is the kind of woman you would read about in Inspired Woman magazine.

Her name is Tara. As we visited, I learned she used to work for a company in Dickinson. She loves snow and would love to go sledding, even though her mother thinks that’s crazy. She’s 31. But considers herself a big kid.

I told her, “You are really good at your job.” And she explained that she does the same thing for other people—pointing out when someone is doing a good job.

She works at the food counter of the Wienerschnitzel Express, inside the Shell gas station. But her dream is to be a comedian she says, “When I grow up.”

To me, a comedian does three things: makes you laugh, causes you to think about something in a new or different way, and leaves you feeling better than you did before you met. Tara did all of this for me.

I was no longer crabby.

Tara’s energy, friendly vibe, and positive spirit changed how I felt about the day.

Here’s the thing. I woke up crabby. Tired, road weary—and crabby. We were still facing more than a day’s travel. I didn’t go into that store to buy a Wienerschnitzel—the name alone makes me smile. But in a very short period of time, I was served something that doesn’t cost anything. And it changed my outlook on that day.

That is the power of inspiration. We can influence people in the most simple ways.

How will you influence someone today?