Yesterday, while driving down the road, I’m trying to make a hotel reservation. The desk clerk informed me the room rate would be $159 for the night. I asked, “Do you give a senior citizen discount?” She shot back, “Are you a member of AARP?” “No. But I’m a member of O. L. D.” She laughed and told me to stop in and we would “make a deal.” When I got to the hotel she let me have the $159 room for $117. Why? Because, as she put it, I made her day.
This isn’t an isolated incident. I’ve discovered people respond to someone who is friendly. I’ve lost track of the times when I’ve stopped at a hotel and said with a broad smile, “You know, I usually get a nice guy discount.” BAM. The rate goes down.
Why? It’s because people are accustomed to dealing with crabby two legged critters. When confronted with a smile and kind words it rocks the world of the recipient. They don’t know how to handle someone who throws a smile and kind word their way.
Being a friendly person is not about getting a discount. For me, being friendly is about what I can give the other person. A discount is a nice bonus but not the goal. I want to give them a smile and a bump up in self-esteem.
Last week I went to the eye doctor. The lobby filled up with people who took turns grumbling at the receptionist. She handled the unruly lobby mob with grace. Before leaving I looked her in the eye and said, “You sure know how to run an efficient office.” A smile raced across her face so fast she set a world’s record. She flashed me a thumbs up and said, “Oh. Thanks so much!” My simple comment elevated her self esteem and put a smile on her face. Victory!
A couple of months ago I stood at the deli waiting for the meat guy behind the counter with blood stains smeared on his white apron to pay me some attention. When he saw me standing there he ran over and apologized for my wait. I smiled and assured him I had not waited long. We bantered for a bit while he wrapped a piece of salmon. As I walked away he said, “Thanks for being such a great customer.” It takes so little to rock someone’s world.
My point is not to lift myself up as an example for the world to follow. But my point is to remind you how a simple smile and a kind word can transform someone’s world, and your world, even if for a moment.
You and I never know the heartache and burden people carry with them. Every day we bump into people who:
- struggle with addiction
- suffer from disease
- are going through a divorce
- have a kid flunking out of school.
When these individuals bump into you they don’t need a growl or snarl. They need a smile and a kind word. And in the exact brief moment when you respond to them in a friendly way they might forget their problems and realize there is hope.
As you go through this day look for someone’s world to rock. Give them a big smile. Say an encouraging word. Give them a compliment. And in that brief moment watch their world change.
Do me a favor. If you’ve done this recently please leave a comment. And if you try it today please report back. Let’s see if we can change our world one smile at a time.
Go. Smile. Speak. Rock the world. I dare you.