Some town employees should be recognized just for being nice people. (My 4th grade teacher hated the word "nice").

A "not so nice" experience at the transfer station made me aware of those who do their jobs with a smile.

As I do every other Saturday, I pulled up to the booth at the dump (sorry, "transfer station") and I was told of the 50-cent increase for dumping household garbage. Not being aware of this, (I was told the town doesn't mail notices of price increases) I told the young bearded attendant that I had only the $5 in cash that I had been bringing every Saturday and that I would be sure to have it next time.

As I handed over my five singles, I expected a reply of, "Okay, next time" (the typical humane response since the beginning of commerce). But instead was told, "Sorry, I cannot let you in".

For the "price of a cup of coffee," as Sally Struthers said, 50 cents is what this story is about. There I was, sitting in my 13-year-old minivan full of smelly household garbage, missing my 8 year old's little league game, explaining to the attendant that as a resident and taxpayer I would happily pay it next time.

But no. In complete disbelief I said, "You expect me to drive to an ATM and return with a $20 bill for 50 cents worth of trash?"

"I don't care," he replied.

Someone in a customer-service position -- town or not -- should never tell the customer they "don't care." Shaking my head in complete disbelief for his lack of consideration, I drove to the closest ATM, (using more than 50¢ in gas and carbon emissions) returned, and handed him my $20 bill.

My anger, frustration and disbelief soon changed to thoughts about the utter lack of understanding that a human could have toward another. I wasn't trying to get away with paying less, I was just doing what I did every other Saturday, and when I bought the sticker in the spring, it was $5. Two weeks ago, it changed to $5.50, and now I'm told "sorry" and sent to the ATM for 50 cents. Think about it.

I would like to mention those who bring a smile to my face at the transfer station every Saturday. I don't know their names. The cardboard guy, the payloader guy and his helpers who let us scavenge despite the sign. The Yankee hat guy, handing out candy-canes in the winter if you have kids in the car. The smiling Good Will guy. Although he doesn't know us personally, he makes us really feel like we're doing something good for others.

More of us should follow their example, it's really not that hard to be nice.

Christopher Coppola