I left home Thursday morning for my trip to Paraguay with Operation Smile. Big adventure-lots to learn-people to meet. Thursday morphing into Friday was a very long day but everything is going super well so far. The woman at the American Airlines counter couldn’t have been nicer. When she saw my Operation Smile identification on my luggage she told everyone else at the counter where I was going and what I’d be doing. General good feelings shared by all. And, I got to pass out Smiley pins to everyone. Great start to the trip.
This is yet another example of strangers being kind to stranger. Sadly strangers have gotten such a bad rap. The whole don’t talk to strangers thing is a sad, misguided approach to life. We are hard wired to interact; survival of the species mandates that we turn strangers into intimates. How sad that we’ve swallowed the fear mongering credo that one must assume the worst of people they do not know instead of assuming the best.
I have long ago rejected the idea that the world is populated with people who want to do me harm or want to steal my children or my possessions. Put that ideology behind you and life opens to a world of friendly people, no different from yourself, people doing the best they can with the situations and strangers they encounter. Just as you feel relieved when an interaction goes smoothly, so do they. And just so I don’t get a slew of agitated emails, I’m not advocating children wandering freely, through dangerous neighborhoods, after dark, announcing they are carrying large amounts of money.
And to address another concern…what about when you put yourself out there, all abubble with perky, outgoing zeal and the recipient shuts you down with a frown? How about, smile? Sometimes it irritates them. Sometimes it disarms them. Either way you’ve done your best to make the world friendlier. And, I’d be willing to bet that either way, you have also helped to change the other person’s mood for the better. Even the dude that scowls at you, absorbs the fact that happiness exists out there.
Adios and smile. Be happy! Be happier!