When People Laugh, I Get Free Stuff

Nga Vương-Sandoval
4 min readFeb 15, 2016

A porcelain tea set, an additional Clinique gift with gift with purchase, corn-on-the-cob-on-a-stick, tempura cheesecake à la mode, a two-for-one hibiscus iced tea, a handmade clay soup pot, calamari salad, a wind-up tabletop snowman, one silver gel pen, one gold gel pen, and a one-eyed orange and brown monster coffee mug. What do these items have in common? They’re all free and were given to me by complete strangers. Most importantly, I believe it was because I made them laugh that caused them to give me these splendid items.

One-eyed monster mug that I got for free.

My most recent experience began when a friend and I entered a modish tea lounge. The metropolitan décor and the urban vibe were marvelous. While she fixated on the baked goodies assortment, I gravitated to the impressive aromatic loose leaf teas housed in trendy rose gold canisters. Being an avid fan of the second most consumed beverage in the world, it was merriment for my senses.

We excitedly approached the counter and examined the menu mounted so high that it was only suited to individuals like Goliath, Shaquille O’Neal, or Yao Ming.

“The power of humor! Who would have guessed?”

The bearded hipster employee observed as we curved our backs parallel to the ceiling to view the menu, “Here’s a paper menu so you don’t have to look up,” he insisted.

While I continued to look skyward, I jokingly responded, “No that’s okay; we prefer to arch our necks and backs in order to see.”

The hipster’s smirk swiftly converted to a smile.

Since entering into this tea utopia, my friend had been fixated on the French baked goods and said, “I’ll have a macaroon.”

Would you like it in a bag?” asked our friendly hipster.

No, I’ll just eat it now. Actually, you can just put it in my hand,” my friend said smilingly and outwardly extended her hand.

Mr. Beard’s smile converted to a chuckle as he wrapped up the petite dessert and placed it in her hand.

Before I placed my order, I elatedly asked, “This place is great! So many great choices. Where have you guys been all of my life?

Our bearded barista’s chuckle converted to full laughter.

We must be your comedy relief for the day,” I said observantly.

Bearded barista’s laughter persisted.

Does that mean that we get the humor discount?” laughed my friend.

Although she was completely kidding, hipster dude continued to laugh, “Let me see what I can do.

He blissfully tapped the register keys. Voilà! We instantaneously received a “humor discount.”

The power of humor! Who would have guessed?

This power of laughter works interchangeably, as I’ve also been on the other side of this contagion. On a different occasion and in the midst of the enjoyable meal with friends, one of them caused all of us to laugh hysterically.

During my laughter, I noticed two elderly women decked out with snazzy hats at an adjacent table. Perhaps it’s from laughing combined with their stylish outfits, but it caused me to flag down our waitress.

I’d like to pick up their check,” I said confidently.

Pleased at my request, our waitress pranced to the two well-dressed women to inform them that their check was “Taken care of.” I saw her pointing to our table at the corner of my eye.

After finishing their meal, the fashionistas approached our table and asked, “What did we do to deserve this?”

I just love your hats,” I delightedly responded.

It’s simple. When we smile, giggle, or laugh, our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that emits feelings of happiness and apparently generosity.

“That’s the free gift.”

So it’s not about the things that we receive when people are happy; it’s the fact that we made them laugh. That’s the free gift. It pays to laugh, to make others laugh, and being “humor discount” worthy is an attainable goal for us all.

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Nga Vương-Sandoval

Writer📃 TEDx Presenter🔆 Public Speaker🎤 Proud Refugee🌏 Proud Việtnamese 💛 Human Rights Advocate✊Product of My Ancestors🏯https://linktr.ee/ngavuongsandoval