Just installed Mint 9 (dual boot with XP Pro) on a Panasonic CF-51 laptop for my wife. She's new to Linux.
She was up and running in no time and installing some games and surfing the web.
Our household also uses Ubuntu, DSLinux (and OS X) and have a few other distros we use on occasion.
I've been using computers since my 1st Commodore-64.
I presently work as a PC support tech for a medical billing facility.
I chose Mint because I was - familiar with Ubuntu, and (mostly) everything 'just worked' out of the box. The visual appearance is also quite nice.
Most options are also nicely laid out and easy to find and configure.