I was on a hunt for chorizo. You never know where they’ll put it in a big grocery store.
A Publix employee in the meat department, who was standing maybe eight feet away, gave me a huge smile and fairly bellowed, “Hello! How’re you doing?”
I jumped – her greeting was that big. “Oh, hi, I’m fine!” I said, even though I wasn’t too sure, I was so tired and rushed. I had to give her a smile back because, how could you not?
So then I asked her where the chorizo was. She wasn’t sure, but she hailed a fellow employee, and he walked me all the way down the aisle to that chorizo. I got the sense that every employee in the store does whatever that lady asks.
I thought about her the rest of the day.
I got stuck in traffic but I didn’t get mad. “Hello!” I kept shouting through my air-conditioned glass, smiling and waving at other drivers.
Some people did a double-take – Do I know you? – and then smiled. Traffic moved along.
In physical therapy I couldn’t follow the directions for the exercise. Normally I would get frustrated and flustered because I hate feeling uncoordinated.
Today, I burst into laughter, because it actually was funny that I couldn’t isolate my gluteus maximus and make it do the movement I needed. It’s not like my ass is a small muscle, you know.
Then my therapist started laughing with me, and the other therapist laughed at us, and two other patients caught it, and the doctor came in and laughed because we were all laughing and maybe he thought we were nuts – but how often do you see a bunch of people laughing out loud in a medical setting?
That woman at Publix did all this. I bet she knows it, too.
She blasted out smiles and hello’s with a ferocious energy. I wonder if she does that every day, for her whole shift, or maybe she just picks the people who look like they are having a bit of a struggle that day.
Or maybe she never does that, and was just improvising. Finding a reason to be happy even if there wasn’t one. Starting her own laughing club in the middle of a grocery store.
So. Next time you’re in a grocery store, just start saying “Hi!” and giving your hugest smile to people.
Watch what happens.
Today’s penny is a 2006, for the year that I wandered Dubai with a camera and didn’t capture many smiles except for that big blue grinning geni at the park.