A while back, a young man went through his day smiling at everyone he met. He said good morning and asked how they were, all with a friendly smile. From the first chance he got to his last, the young man would smile and greet everyone he met. From the bus driver in the morning to the man who sold hot dogs from his cart, he would say hello with a warm smile.
But day after day, he grew tired of seeing people ignore his attempt at being friendly or just not respond in kind. After days of seeing his smile fail to brighten the days of others, he gave up. Why should he smile when no one else wanted to smile?
So he stopped smiling. The year went past as he went about his day. No longer caring to smile or even greet another person. No one noticed the change. No one cared.
Then one day, a child stopped him. He looked down at her in surprise.
“Mister? Why don’t you smile anymore?”
He was taken back at the question. It had been so long since he tried to smile that he forgot why. He instead decided to walk away from the little girl.
“My grandma misses your smile!”
Again the man was surprised. Why would anyone care whether he smiled or not? Who would have even taken the time to notice his smile? The man turn to the girl and asked her.
“My grandmother doesn’t get out of her home anymore. Grandma always liked to watch you come down the street in the morning smiling at everyone. She always said watching you say hello and looking so happy made her happy– that there were still kind people in the world. That the day hadn’t started until she saw your face. Your smile would be the last thing she would see at night before she went to bed. But now that you don’t smile anymore, she doesn’t smile. She just sits there and stares out the window.”
“Please Mister– would you smile again? I miss my grandma’s smile.”
What could he do? How could he smile? His heartache to think that this little girl’s grandmother looked forward to seeing his smile. But would it matter that she could not see him smile? He looks down at the little girl and smile at her.
“Hi.” He says, “I hope you have a good night!”
The little girl runs off, with a smile as big as the moon on her face. A moment later he sees her in a window next to a little old woman. She points excitedly at him. The man smiles and waves at them. The old woman’s eyes grow big and a smile blossoms on her face. She waves back at him.
The man walks slowly now, lost in his own thoughts. His heart feels strangely light now. All this time he thought none of the people he talked to cared to see his smile but one little girl was hurt when he did not smile.
From that day on, the man took the time to smile and greet the people he met. Whenever he passed the home of the little girl and her grandmother, he always made sure to wave and smile at them.