The other day I stopped into a 7-11 to buy a healthy lunch of a hot dog, chips and a diet coke. (I am as you know very health conscious.) Anyhow, as I checked out, the young man behind the counter asked how I was doing. I answered honestly. After all, it was a warm day, the air was fresh and clean, I was having a pleasant peaceful day without stress.
I said, “Thank you for asking. You are very kind to be concerned and I can tell you that life is great. Great day. Great weather. And now a great hot dog for lunch. All things considered, my life is better than I deserve.”
His response surprised me. He stood silent for maybe two or three seconds looking directly at me. Then he explained that he had spent the morning dealing with people who were rude, ill tempered and demanding. “They all seemed to be very unhappy”, he said with a delightful accent, “and that made me unhappy too. Then you come in here with a big smile and some nice words. You have made me feel better. You have made me happy again. Thank you for making my life better.”
I sensed from his sincerity that he actually felt better. Then I realized something very important. Perhaps my positive interaction with him had in fact made his life better. Furthermore, I knew for sure that his positive response to me had improved my day. And I told him so.
I gathered up by hot dog and chips and headed out the door. As the door was closing I heard another customer say “hi, how are you” to the clerk. To which he responded. “It is a beautiful day. It is warm and fresh and wonderful.” His customer glanced out the big front windows and said you know, you’re right. I put my drink on top of my car while I opened the door and glanced back in the store. The young man was looking my way and when he saw I was looking back, he smiled a big warm smile and waved. My hands were full so I nodded back to a new friend.
As I drove to my office I couldn’t help but wonder how many people we each touch, for good or bad, every day through our simple acts of kindness or thoughtless disregard. I think it is like having a contagious disease. Without even trying, we all share things with the people around us every day. The question is what are we sharing? I then committed to personally smile more, have more gratitude and tell others when they have made a positive difference for me. If it is that easy to make things better, I have no excuse for not doing so. I want my wonderful life to be contagious whenever possible.