My stop on Campaign Smile today was intriguing in several ways. I received some interesting responses and made some fascinating observations. The smiles were limited but, as always, the results will always be positive, now or later.
1. There was a woman who had stopped her rather full cart in the main aisle while her husband went down the side aisle to retrieve something. When I smiled at her she revealed an expression like I was just the latest person asking something else from her in the form of an unspoken request for human contact. I’ve seen people a number of times that seem to regard my smile in this manner with a variety of responses. In this case, though, I was apparently at the end of a long line of requests and she looked worn down from it all.
2. As I walked nonchalantly down the aisles, smiling and looking at everything and everyone one of the sales associates that was behind me asked if I needed any help. I’m sure I am something of a rare sight as I just soak up the experience. She must have figured that I was trying to find something since I was looking at everything. I told her I appreciated the thought but I was doing fine and exchanged smiles with her. Even more hope for the retail profession!
3. The next man I passed seemed even more dumbfounded by my happy behavior and joyful approach. As I smiled in his direction he simply stared at me as if I had two heads. Any sort of response seemed to elude him.
4. After I left the store I was walking to my car and saw a man walking toward me. He looked at me until he realized I was looking back and smiling. He quickly averted his gaze and looked at the ground until he passed. The light of my smile had penetrated his invisible bubble. I am sometimes amazed how we believe we can interact with all of society without actually making contact. We form these little “shields” to protect us from people glaring, judging, condemning, disapproving. However, those same “shields” protect us from others smiling at us, approving of us, admiring us, communicating and approving us. It’s an unfortunate development in our society’s interactions. That’s where these simple smiles can make significant differences. They can help us teach each other to trust more and allow others to know us. 72 smiles now in the books.