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Smiles are Like Germs

Infectious and Free

By Donna Sue DavisPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Smiles are Like Germs
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

I tend to be a cynical sort of person. I’ve worked too much in the food service industry to have a great deal of faith in humanity. “John and Jane Q Public should never be allowed out without supervision,” is a favorite quote of mine (coined, I believe, by myself). People are rude to waitstaff, purposefully obtuse and will do anything for a free meal. They allow their children to run amok, talk down to people who are likely as intelligent as themselves, and don’t care a bit to ruin someone else’s day to make themselves feel better.

BUT (there’s always a but, isn’t there? Exceptions to every rule? I believe so, and in this case, there definitely is!):

-I have seen a bunch of minimum wage workers pull together to buy groceries for and give gas money to a coworker who had a tragedy in her family. They pooled resources, shopped, bought gift cards and delivered these to her with smiles and hugs, lifting a huge burden from her shoulders.

-I’ve been working a drive-thru when someone paid for the order of the car behind them, no matter how much the total was.

-I have been on the receiving end of the car in front of me paying for my order at the drive-thru, and have myself paid for the car behind me.

-I recently lost my job, and, as a Christmas gift, a friend of mine took over payments on all but one of my subscirption (Netflix, Spotify, etc.) for the next year. She also sent me some money via Cash App and paid my car insurance for January. She is my friend, and I could have almost expected one of those gifts, but to have her give them all to me at once, touched my heart. I was moved to tears, and speechless, which is something that is not often said of me.

On top of all that, the COVID19 pandemic has shown me kindness like I’ve never seen. People doing grocery shopping for elderly neighbors and family members, making meals for people who are ill or in quarantine, even going so far as to put themselves in harm’s way by going to cook or clean someone else’s home. On social media, I’ve seen people giving to Go Fund Me accounts to help people pay for everything from car repairs to funerals, even asking for someone’s Cash App or Venmo tags so they could send money to help a perfect (or nearly perfect) stranger. As divided as our country seems to be on so many fronts, strangers helping strangers seems to have become quite a trend! One I can totally get behind, I might add.

Holding a door for someone is something so ingrained into my DNA that I am often affronted when someone doesn’t do the same for me. I have to remind myself that everyone doesn’t know the secret of “manners are free.” But then one day, I got out of my car to go into the convenience store a couple blocks away, and a boy of about 12, who had been lounging against the ATM next to the door, jumped to attention and opened the door for me with a big smile. It was an infectious smile, and I didn’t even try to stop myself returning it. I thanked him, and went about my business, and on the way out, there he was, opening the door for me again. Someone taught that boy the way to treat a lady! (Or maybe they taught him how to treat his elders, ha-ha!)

There is a lot of goodness in this world; all we have to do is open our hearts and minds, and take our blinders off, and we’ll see it. Good deeds are happening around us every day. We usually see what we’re looking for when we look at the human race. When I look around with my cynical, grumpy glasses on, I see all the bad that’s out there to see, and goodness knows there’s plenty of it. But when I look around, hoping to see some good, I usually do, and I try to spread it around when I can. I drop casual complements as liberally as possible when I go out and about. Just like that boy at the Kwik-Mart, smiles and other niceties are infectious; if you want them to spread, you just have to drop a few around, and others will pick them up and pass them on.


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