As has been mentioned before, I have kind of a large personality. I also have a comfortable manner, even (perhaps especially) around strangers. This combination has the interesting effect of making complete strangers remember me, even if sometimes they're not exactly sure why.
There's not much to do where I grew up. My highschool friends and I used to go to Niagara Falls a lot. One of the places we went was the Hard Rock Cafe — we used to wind up there about once every month or two. So, being my teenage self, I inevitably developed a pretty serious crush on S, a waitress there. So I'd chat her up every time we went and she got pretty friendly with me. I brought her back a pin from the Hard Rock in Montreal when we went there.
One time my friends and I even rollerbladed the 30 km (three hours!) from where we lived to the Hard Rock just to see if S was working. She was. I remember she put her hand on my back while we were talking, even though I was all sweaty from three hours of rollerblading. That made my 17-year-old day.
Eventually there was a time we went in and she wasn't there. We asked and it turned out she'd stopped working there. My heart was broken. Luckily, I healed fast back then.
Two or three years later I was eating with my dad at East Side Mario's when who should walk by but S. I looked up and smiled at her. She stopped and said, "oh my God! How are you? I haven't seen you in forever! You used to work at the Hard Rock, right?" Apparently she remembered me strongly enough that she thought we'd worked together.
There's a restaurant I go to now, almost every Friday, with M and J and some of the other work people. It's our Friday ritual. All the waiters and waitresses remember what I order. When I see one of them on the street outside of there, we say hi to each other. They've rearranged the restaurant for us when seating was tight. Last week I went again after not having been for a few weeks. I was with a different crew than the usual Friday ritual gang. On our way out the manager came up and put his hand on my shoulder and said to me, "I always love seeing you come in, I know there will be a lot of laughter at the table."
It's not always restaurants, either. Yesterday I walked into a clothing store. The sales guy welcomed us to the store and said to me, "I sold you a pair of jeans a while ago." I remembered his face, but I didn't remember buying jeans in that store. Then I realised it was a different outlet. I bought the jeans in question in October. He's actually a very helpful salesman. Which is dangerous for my credit card.
I feel like I should be shocked that he managed to dredge up the memory of me after meeting me once, 6 months ago. He's probably seen tens of thousands of customers since then. But I don't think it really surprises me anymore.
People never forget me, no matter how hard they try.