Because when I give a smile, I get a smile.

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

Recently on a road trip with my two younger sisters, one of them asked, “Do you talk to everyone?”

“Yes!” I replied. “Because when I give a smile, I get a smile.” I have been this way all of my life. I have discovered that by talking to people that most of them talk to me and we exchange smiles.

When driving with my sisters that Friday afternoon, we stopped to get fuel at a remote service station in rural Maryland. While my sisters were using the facilities, I chatted with the lone employee who told me that she was working until 10:00 that night. She worked two jobs but she was paying her bills and raising her kids. When I was leaving I wished her good luck. I then told my sister the woman’s story. There in the middle of the rural area, someone took the time to talk to her and smiled at her.

Another time that we stopped at one of those large rest areas on the turnpike, I went looking for food and chatted with the clerk behind the counter. I told her that the Hershey bars with almonds were calling to me, but that I had walked by them and found the bananas and apples. I told her that I wished the fruit called to me like the chocolate. This somber looking woman smiled and said, “Well, you should hear the potato chip section singing to me all day. We laughed together. I gave her a smile and she gave one back.

We are all so used to saying “Have a nice day!” And yes, I am guilty of that too. But sometimes all we have to do is stop and say someone’s name, especially if they are wearing a nametag. Greet them like they are a person instead of a robot. Find out who they are and before long, when you are having a bad day, they will greet you with a smile.

On this same trip, we stayed at a hotel chain that provided breakfast each morning. My older sister pulled out a $20.00 bill and said, “A little extra for Eva.” Eva was our wonderful breakfast bar waitress that we met that weekend who greeted us warmly with a fresh pot of coffee and a smile every morning. Oh yes, sometimes those smiles earn you a little more than just a smile.