Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bringing A Smile

     I had a meeting this morning in Camden, NJ and as I customarily do, I parked in a specific parking garage across the street from where my meeting was being held.  The meeting was at the offices of a non-profit organization of which I'm a Board member.  When the meeting was over, I picked up a parking validation ticket that can be used to pay for the garage and I headed to my car, thinking about a kindness opportunity.
     The normal routine at this garage is that on my way out, I pull up to a booth where I place both my parking ticket and my validation ticket into a drawer after which the attendant raises the mechanical "arm" that allows me to exit.  More often than not, the attendant is on the phone, barely looking at me, and offering neither a smile nor a "have a good day."  Today, however, in addition to the two tickets, I also put a McDonald's gift card into the drawer.  It took a moment or two I think for the attendant to realize what I was doing, but then I saw her face light up in a huge smile and she thanked me.  I'm pretty certain I've never seen her smile before, and she actually has a beautiful smile.
     For at least a moment, I definitely was able to brighten her day.  Though I'll never know for sure, I suspect that there was likely a more lasting effect.  I'll bet she had a little different spring in her step the rest of the day and that she approached others just a bit differently too.  That's the powerful impact that a very small act of kindness can have.

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