Desperately Seeking Smiles


Today felt like I was following that proverbial wild goose.  I thought I would get up a little early and do some campaign work before I went to my job.  I drove to Best Buy to start the day in a positive way for some folks.  However, when I arrived, they had not opened yet.  I thought I would try Kmart instead.  They were open but there was virtually noone there.

1. I passed an older gentleman as I walked into the store.  I was fascinated by his drastically downturned expression.  We have all, I am sure, walked around with a frown.  In this case, though, it was almost as if some weight was dragging his face down.  Everything about him seemed to be working to bring his face and, I’m sure, his overall mood as low as it could go.  I gave him my best smile as we passed hoping to be of a little help, anyway.  It would have been really impressive to me if I had managed to turn his expression to a smile though that did not happen.  With the extreme appearance he held, though, it was very easy to see it lighten up in response to my smile.  I watched as his entire face lifted and relaxed.  I am sure he continued to battle with whatever internal dilemma or demon was working on him.  I believe, still, that his cause was helped by the warmth of his fellow man.

2. That was the entire extent of my interactions at Kmart.  I spoke with a few of the associates but didn’t see anything but people being polite in their jobs.  I had one gentleman think I worked there but he did not smile or frown with the question or my answer.  I gave up my quest for the morning and determined to try again after work.

3. I returned to Best Buy after work and was happy to see a fair amount of customers in the store.  Unfortunately, almost all of them were so engrossed in their shopping  they hardly noticed me.  I am happy to have noticed, though, that they all seemed to be enjoying themselves which is why I do this anyway.  One young man gave me a small smile in return for my efforts.

4. As I walked back to my car I passed a truck and smiled to the older woman sitting in the passenger seat.  She gave a warm smile in return which I really enjoyed.

5. I had pretty much counted it as a light day in my smile campaign with my limited opportunities for exchanging smiles so I returned home and ate supper.  Afterward, I took my dog out for a walk, not much thinking about the whole thing.  I was pleasantly surprised to have two unexpected smiles.  Two of my neighbors, a mother and daughter, were getting out of their SUV as we walked by their house.

6. Then, not two blocks further, another neighbor who was out jogging smiled in return to my smile.  It really is a wonderful experience to see that sometimes, despite great efforts to find what we want, it just comes and finds us.  I spent time and energy to visit two different stores to gain two smiles and received three more by simply walking around the neighborhood.  That gave me a total of 5 smiles for the day, bringing my total to 32!  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.
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