Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Make a Nice Day

On a daily basis, I tend to interact with a a fair number of people. As a stay-at-home mom, I talk to a lot of grocery clerks, dry cleaners, car wash employees, etc. For some reason, today seems to be a particularly nice day for dealing with the various people in my path.

My day started with the mammogram technician. She was kind, gentle and reassuring. This is my least favorite appointment of the year, but she somehow made it a little better. If she can get me a clean mammography, I'll like her even more. The grocery store service clerk was also really nice, even though I had no clue how to purchase a lottery ticket. (Hey, it's $350 million--worth a try, don't you think?!) The checkout clerk was equally nice, as was the woman at the dry cleaners. All of these people smiled, shared a story and told me to have a nice day.

And, in fact, the sum total of all of these nice people was the start of a very nice day for me. As I pulled my car into the garage, I was feeling pretty good about things, for no particular reason. I have to admit to being a little superstitious that everyone's being nice because something bad is coming, but I'm hoping it's just my tendency toward the glass-half-empty perspective.

What strikes me about this is that it took very little for these people to make me feel pretty great about life in general. Imagine what would happen if we all did this a little bit every day.

On a corner near my home, there's a woman that epitomizes this philosophy. She's a crossing guard and besides safely escorting children across a busy intersection, she also makes a point to wave at every car that passes by. The first time I saw her, I thought she was nuts, perhaps a little "off," if you know what I mean. But then I saw her dogged determination to smile, wave and shout "Have a nice day!" even in sub-zero temperatures and I was really touched. It's impossible to pass her and not smile. Even a car full of teenage boys on their way to school is not immune to her charms. Her actions are simple but far-reaching. She's my hero.

In today's world, we have heroes that come in many sizes. Some of their actions are headline-worthy and receive great publicity. Others, like our crossing guard, the mammogram technician and the grocery store clerk are small and mostly overlooked. And yet, they touch people. With packed schedules and deadlines and traffic and stress, it's sometimes difficult to have a nice day. We may not all be able to make headlines, but perhaps we can all make somebody's day a little bit better with a smile. It's worth a try, don't you think?


At 10:37 AM , Blogger Jodes said...

I found you thru the random site thingy for crazy hip blog mommas and i love your post. You are so right. I hope your mammogram turns out ok...I have never had one. But I am walking in the Breast Cancer 3day this year, I have a post about it on the last several Tuesdays on my blog. I think I will stop by again soon, hope to see you in my bloghood.

At 3:14 PM , Blogger Jess Riley said...

Hey, what a red letter day! You had a mammogram and I saw the Hoo-Ha doctor! Let's keep our fingers crossed for good post-visit news for each other. :)

At 7:36 PM , Blogger Tammy said...

As someone who spent years working in the service industry (yes, I've been a grocery store cashier!), it's wonderful to hear that someone actually notices those of us who go out of our way to be cheerful. :) It's nice to know that perhaps I, too, made a difference in someone's day at some point.

At 9:54 PM , Blogger kontan said...

the simple act of smiling can improve your day...and do wonders for another

At 11:21 PM , Blogger kenju said...

AMEN! You are so right!

At 6:36 AM , Anonymous Mo said...

It's amazing how big a difference a little kindness can make. Michele sent me!

At 4:57 PM , Blogger owlhaven said...

Nice post!!

At 1:09 AM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

in Fullerton, near where I live (this was about 10 years ago) there was this woman in a wheelchair that used to park herself out front of her old folks home and wave at EVERY car that went past. It got so we were just used to waving at her. I would see her every day.
One day she wasn't there and I read an article in the paper that she had passed on. The hospital and family got literally thousands of cards and letters from total strangers who had been waved at, wanting to know what had happened to the lady. She had affected so many lives just by sitting on the corner and waving to people.

At 6:10 AM , Blogger Carmi said...

I've always been amazed at how it's the little things that people do that make the biggest differences in life.

I've tried to capture that in my writing, but I believe your entry captures the concept much more effectively. I so totally relate to each and every word you wrote.

At 9:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an older gentleman who stands out in his front yard every day to wave at the cars that go by.
There is an elementary school and a middle school a block from his house you see.

It always made my morning to wave to him and the kids who were still with me would wave so hard and smile at him.

I will have to ask my husband if he still does it. (He takes my son every morning as we have three different schools to carpool to)


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