Friday, January 9, 2015

One Smile Can Change Your Day

I was at a Kroger grocery store last Sunday after church and I walked past a lady. Early-to-mid 40's, slim, very attractive features, wearing leopard printed heels with a knee-length skirt and matching animal print shawl/shoulder wrap over a white shirt.  We made eye contact as she moved her shopping cart out of my path.  By reflex, I said "good morning," but you couldn't honestly tell if I meant it or not.  It was just a greeting. I'd just found out a church member of only 49 years old had died of cancer just 30 minutes prior.  I'd also just heard that one of the ESPN personalities who I'd watch since the early 90's had passed away of cancer at 49 years old as well.  So, my mood was a bit somber being that I've lost loved ones to cancer as well.  To top it off, I was trying to make a mental list of what I needed from the grocery store.  I thought that all of that justified my dry "hello."  After all, the only requirement is to be cordial, right?

Well, she replied with a very enthusiastic "Good morning! How are you?" in return.

I never broke stride and dryly replied with an "I'm fine. Thanks."

I walked around the corner to the next aisle and I thought about it for a second. In a world where people only think "self," here was someone who was energetic in her greeting and I didn't reciprocate. How often does that happen in our lives when people ask you, "how are you?" and they truly don't care?  The last time you acknowledged someone with a "hello" or a "good morning," did you mean it?

This lady definitely meant "good morning" to me and I wasn't going to allow that to be in vain.  I turned my shopping cart around and went back around the corner. To my surprise, I was met with the same smile she'd given me before as if my dry response from earlier never happened. That says a lot about a person when they treat you respectfully despite how you may have treated them.  I said to her,"Hello, again.  I want to apologize for earlier. You were being very enthusiastic in speaking to me and I was in Lala Land. So, I needed to come back and apologize for that and give you a big smile and greeting. Good morning! How are you?"

She smiled and said, "I'm great and I'm relieved that there are still some good people in the world.  You didn't have to do that."

"Yes.  I did," I replied.

I told her to have a wonderful day and I walked off. Both of us left the conversation with smiles.

I ran into her two more times in the store and outside of the store as well.  Each time she would flash a big smile as she strolled by.  As I got outside and started loading my groceries in my car, I noticed that she was only two parking spots down from me loading her groceries.  By the time she finished I had walked over and offered to return her shopping cart to the store for her.  She smiled and said, "why, thank you!"

I actually felt like I should have been thanking her.  She re-opened my eyes on something I preach to others: a positive attitude is infectious.  It's amazing how we can take the little things for granted, but it's the little things, and only the little things, that determine what kind of people that we are.


  1. Q. This might be inappropriate for your house here to Thank-Q, but I'mma give you a little dating advice.

    Have you lost your fucking mind????? You get smiles, complements--repeatedly--and you walk her cart back to the store?

    OK, let's stop the train. My current therapy requires me to stop evaluating other people (here read people as "men") through my own eyes. Your gallant efforts, while lost on me, are likely why your judgments land you in good stead and mine, all too often, land me in jail.

    I get so much as a wayward glance and I'm all thinking, "Wow, she wants to have my babies!"

    Maybe I'm sicker than I thought.

    F Walmart!

    1. LOL! Mooner, you kill me. We talked briefly at her car and I didn't want to take things to that level. I'm pretty sure she was married based on her ring and some of the things she told me, but this wasn't one of those moments.

  2. Mooner is hilarious. It's obvious that she made an impression on you judging by the very vivid description you gave of her attire and her good looks. I wonder if this was the reason for the 180 you did to give her a smile and a hello. LOL! Just jiving in my J.J. Evans voice. You did the right thing. Every morning when I'm getting my coffee I smile and tell everyone along my path good morning. I never knew how much of an impact it had on people until someone made me aware that it does.

    1. It does make an impact on people without us really realizing it. Some people need that pick me up and I didn't realize that I was one of those people. And I would have done the same thing had she looked like Florida Evans (since you referenced "Good Times"). :)


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