My husband said I acted as if I knew her. In fact, I did know her. I knew her because she was a woman like me. I knew she worries about her hair/nails/hair and/or weight. I knew her because she was someone’s daughter. I knew she worked because she needed the money. I knew she has probably loved and been loved. I knew she has her good days and bad. I knew she was just like me swimming across the English Channel of life through calm seas and rough. Through sunny days and rainy days.
In my past life, I would have walked by her as if she did not exist and would only acknowledge her if I needed something. I was so enmeshed in being me as I plowed through life with my head down bulling my way along life’s pathway, that little else existed.
Somewhere along the way, I evolved. I became a nicer, kinder, gentler person, and made a discovery. I discovered that giving a smile gets a smile in return. I found that kindness begets kindness. I learned that a smile and a genuine thank you while looking one in the eye is a gift.
I tried to explain to one of our sons that I thanked the toll taker working on Christmas Eve, and my son looked puzzled. He couldn’t understand why I would bother to do that. I tried to explain that he could have called in sick then there would have been one less booth open. Traffic would have backed up and I might have lost my smile. Everyone needs to know that what they do makes a difference. The Verizon sales person explaining new technology to an elderly gentleman, and the grocery clerk at the self-service registers who exhibit the patience of Job. They make a difference.
Three to four times a week for the last few years, I give my parking ticket to the attendant at the health club. His position in the booth prevents him from looking me in the face, but I always say hello and thank you. He never responded. Finally, I decided to stop wasting my time. He obviously didn’t care. But I felt uncomfortable treating him like a machine. So I reverted and started saying hello and thank you again, because it made me feel good. A funny thing happened… he started thanking me back.