Conntecting the Dots

The Power of a Smile

I recently heard a woman tell about her encounter with a grocery store checkout clerk. As the woman — Judi — unloaded her groceries onto the conveyor belt, she noticed the clerk’s facial expression and body language. Everything about her screamed “Stress!” When the time came to pay, Judi handed her check to the clerk, smiled, and said, “Thank you for serving me so well this morning.”

The clerk stopped short and stared into Judi’s face.

Judi’s smile broadened and she seized the moment. “I really appreciate how you rang my groceries through your scanner accurately, and how you’ve taken the time to bag them.”

Consternation crossed the clerk’s face, and then her expression softened. “No one’s ever said that to me,” she said. “Thank you — you just made my day.”

We know nothing about the clerk’s background or home life. We know nothing about the personal struggles she may have been facing that day. But we know she found encouragement in Judi’s smile and comments.

Judi is a woman of influence. That morning she was sensitive to another person’s body language and by responding with kindness, she made a difference in the clerk’s day. How can we make a difference in someone’s life today? Maybe it’s by smiling and expressing appreciation to our husbands when they come home from work. Or by speaking positive words to the coworker who doesn’t say much and always looks sad. Or by encouraging the widow whose kids and grandkids live far away. Or by telling our kids that we love them. Or by telling the pastor and his wife that we appreciate their ministry. The list is endless.

Smiles and kind words are free. Let’s practice giving them away!

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