It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day. A smile. A nod. A kind word. I’d even take Joey saying this:
That being said, I had two very different experiences this morning. I walked into a certain grocery store, and no one said a word. I went down the aisles, and someone was stocking the meat. She was actually blocking where I needed to go, but I waited thinking she was going to look up. When she turned around I smiled, and got a look of, well, nothing. I guess I wasn’t even good enough to get a half-smile. I went through the rest of the store, and noticed the only had those
damn self-checkout things. I dislike those things. I want a person.
I finally found a person checking out, but the light was off. The lady one register over peeked over like she was hiding and said “THAT register is closed, BUT I’ll take you.” Don’t say it like you are doing me any favors lady. What in the world. Apparently, her clothing meant she was a manager of some sort. Hmmm. She sure didn’t act like it. Then some lady came back that had been on break I guess and an older gentleman came up behind me. He said he hated those self-checkouts and asked if this lane was open, because gee, they were hiding with the light off. I said yes, it was, and we started talking about how robots were going to take over…ha. No one was going to man anything anymore. Well, I guess checkout lady didn’t much like that, but truth be told, she didn’t like anything anyway and it was only 9 a.m. As I left I said thank you, and she looked at me like she really didn’t want to say anything, but mumbled something.
The next store, I just hummed a song and spoke to people again. The lady stocking the supplies, she didn’t not smile, but didn’t exactly go out of her way either. Hmmm. Went to check out and noticed a lady who was having problems in front of a lady who seemed to be in a huge hurry. She had pinched lips and looked perturbed. I told this older gentleman in messy, stained clothes to go ahead of me. He only had a newspaper and I smiled at him and said please go ahead of me. I have a cart full. He said thank you, and I believe the pinched lipped woman looked less frazzled after I did that. Then a man came up with his arms full of things and I laughed and said “Do you need a cart?” He smiled at me and held up some crazy snowmen signs and said “How can you not get these??” and he reminded me of Wayne Brady, so he made my day. How could I not get two snowmen signs? I don’t know Wayne, but I think you are hilarious.
As I was leaving, the checkout lady got to talking to the rumpled man I let go ahead of me, and Wayne was behind me, so I knew we weren’t in any hurry now. Good, because we were talking about books, and I happen to like to add my two cents. The rumpled man turned to me after I checked out and pressed a photo-copied recipe into my hand for a ham loaf he said was wonderful. I took the stained recipe, that appeared to have his name on it, and smiled at him as he told me about the steps. Never once saying I couldn’t eat a thing he put in it, but just nodding.
As I left, I thought about how it pays to “read” people and try to give them what they need. Attention, a kind word, or just a smile can go a long way for people having a hard time. What can you do this week to make someone’s day a little brighter?