Affordable gift giving

I had a man thank me for my smile this morning.

I was walking along Dana, going to work, when a man came walking the opposite direction. I smiled at him. A moment later, after we’d passed each other, he called back, “For me?” I was late so I kept walking but I turned my head. “That smile was for me?” he repeated. I smiled again and said yes. “Thank you,” he said.

Two readings:
First, isn’t it sad that people smile at each other so rarely that a smile given to a stranger merits a thank you?

Second, isn’t it wonderful that even in such a world as this people will still thank each other for something so simple as a smile?

I’ve written before (paragraph about halfway down, starting with “I’ve mentioned that”) on why I think we don’t smile more while walking down the street. It feels weird to smile at someone and not have them smile at return. It makes us wonder if it’s something about us, and it’s a little, subtle hurt feeling. Most of us just sort of learn not to smile so we won’t get that hurt feeling. Some days I choose not to smile, but a lot of the time I decide to just be a giver that day, to give my smile to everyone who passes regardless of whether they choose to give one back. It’s surprisingly hard. If the first few people I smile at don’t respond, it’s hard to smile at the next person who comes along with that same spirit of complete giving. But I try not to be bothered by the people who don’t smile back. An unrestrained smile is a beautiful gift. I try to give it without worrying about what the other person will think.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]