A Moment in Time: October 6, 2013. The Power of an Authentic Smile
All of a sudden, I hear someone knocking at the door. I just remembered the letter sent by the management office days before! It is the date when the air conditioning maintenance team will need to verify if the unit in our office is working properly.
I leave my desk and hurry to open and greet the technician.
“Good afternoon,” I say with a smile. “Please come in. Let me know if you need anything. I’ll be working upstairs.”
The man smiles back and says: “Thank you, I appreciate that.”
The A/C unit is right next to the entrance. I go upstairs and try to continue where I left my work but I can’t help listening to the conversation in Spanish that the man I just greeted is having with another one who just arrived to assist him, without them knowing I can understand their language.
The older one, the same I talked to previously says: “Man! This lady just made my day, she’s been so nice. I wish everyone could be like that. Have you seen the faces of the people we’ve met since we started this morning? Not one smile on their faces!”
The younger guy has listened and ends the short dialogue with a line that made me laugh in silence.
“Hurry up man, let’s finish soon so we can get out of here fast!”
Once they finish, the older man lets me know they are leaving so I leave my computer and go down the stairs one last time, to thank them for their time. Noticing my accent, he can’t help asking me where I am from. When he knows I also speak Spanish he feels a bit embarrassed because he realizes I have heard their chat but then I get curious and in a witty manner I ask if it’s true that people they have encountered in other offices have been unkind or impolite.
“Oh Ms., you don’t want to know the type of people we have to deal with, is just as if they hate everyone else for no reason.”
I kept on chatting with them for a few more minutes and then we said goodbye. I was glad they had found someone kinder that day but then, when I returned to my own thoughts I started wondering where could this unkind treatment of people towards others who are offering them a service come from.
The answer I got was FEAR. Perhaps they feel threatened by the presence of a stranger in their private space. Maybe they have the habit of discriminating others by their jobs which in turn creates mistrust and suspicion. Or, perhaps they just don’t see the need to be kind to a stranger. What’s the point anyway? If they won’t be seeing that person ever again!
I don’t remember when was it that I acquired this habit of smiling and being kind to others for no reason. All I know is that it has created difficulties in my relations with my family and friends in the past, as they just don’t see why one has to be “so nice.” Even during times when I’ve felt surrounded by threatening or unsafe circumstances I have not changed this attitude. Believe it or not, it is as though this kindness is always protecting and preventing me from getting into trouble…
Knowing that being kind is a tool that truly works, and that it has this contagious energy no one can resist, I believe we must make additional efforts to start treating others just as we would like to be treated.
One of the quotes from my #HealThruWords collection that has brought more controversy since its publication is:
What are your thoughts? Are you already one of the kinder ones in this world who no matter what is going on in your life, or no matter what your mind thinks about the ‘other’, is able to greet a stranger at the door with a smile making that person feel welcome in your reality even if it’s only for some brief moments before you both take different paths and never meet each other again?
Until next time and don’t forget to be love!