She called out to me, clicking her mobile phone off. We passed each other outside the shopping mall—I was going in, and she out. Her leggings, shirt, braid, and hat mostly comprised of pink—which often is an immediate turnoff for me. However, that bubblegum look did catch my eye, and she caught my eye for a quick second, enough to smile widely and wish me a great day.
Instinctively, my face broke into a wide smile, and I responded with an enthusiastic “You too!”
This was new to me. And as I turned back to face my path, the smile on my face was fixed, ecstatic for no good reason. Perhaps she sensed it, for “Pass it on!” she waved after me.
“I will!” I meant to say, but it came out as “Thanks!” instead.
Regardless of what I said, for the next few moments I felt elated, as if I’d won a competition and nothing could bring me down. All of a sudden, I wanted to yell at the couple and their two children walking ahead to have a great day. I didn’t, though, because a lot of folks I’ve seen in my neighbourhood aren’t too receptive to strangers addressing them.
That said, my good mood continued throughout the day. I remembered that woman and her flip phone, and imagined her wheeling her travelling bag down the street, cheering up many other people’s lives.
It was a small gesture, negligible some might say—a smile and a greeting. But it made such a difference to me. And it made me think.
It costs us nothing to be friendly, and yet so many of us walk the streets with impassive expressions, eyes cast down, afraid to look at the person walking past us. We meet new people and mechanically say “hello” and “how are you,” not even looking at them. As they speak, we nod but don’t listen. We converse and co-exist without knowing or understanding the other person.
Not everyone’s like this, I admit. However, I have come across a lot of such people. Enough to know that that’s what makes the lady in pink so special. She stood out from the masses—she was bold, and became an encounter I cherish.
It’s nice to be nice. It’s contagious.