Have you ever been out and about and just observed people and wondered what their life must be like? Sometimes, we wonder based on their appearances, sometimes based on actions and other times because of involved interactions with them. Our encounter with them is only one moment in time during many hours of their existence and we have no idea what they have or what may be going on in their life. Yet, that one encounter often causes us to define them for that moment when we don’t really know them at all.
Sometimes, these encounters result in not so positive situations and other times they provide an opportunity for a positive outcome that enriches your soul. Years ago, in my early 20’s, I was having dinner at a Taco Bell. As I sat there having my dinner a rather disheveled lady came in and walked up to the counter and ordered a small bag of nachos. I saw her make her way over to the table to sit down and she started to slowly nibble on what I assumed to be her dinner. I also noticed that she had no teeth. So, biting into the hard nachos meant that she was really having to take her time.
I knew nothing of this lady. Not her past or present and definitely not her future. What I knew, however, was that there was something about her that touched me in that moment that brought out my humanity in a way that felt right. As I finished my dinner, I reached in my pocket, took out the last $5.00 I had and walked over to her table and gave it to her. I then turned and walked away without looking back. You see, for me that moment in time and that interaction stoked a feeling of humanity and compassion that drove me to do something positive.Others may have laughed, made fun of, or even questioned why someone as disheveled as she was would be allowed to dine in the restaurant. However, I made a conscious choice to do what was right for me as that was what I had been taught.
As you go through your day, you will encounter many people in many situations that will evoke some thought inside you about them. Will you use the pre-conceived notions that I wrote about yesterday regarding their appearance or demeanor to guide you? Or, will you let that moment spark a little humanity in you and use it as a teaching moment to not only make yourself smile but someone else as well. Use the opportunity of every encounter as a life lesson that what are are seeing and hearing in the moment may not necessarily be the reality of the person as a whole. How we react helps define the person we are are.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.