(Please forgive the repost of a former article as I've been on vacation. Hope you enjoy it the second time around.)
You’ll never know how something so simple as your smile can influence or change someone’s life. You’ll never know, until you’re told. I was and now I’m sharing it with you.
I’ve never been one to hold back a smile. It’s just always been a part of who I am. My mom always had one plastered on her face and its probably where I learned it from. I never TRULY knew how a smile can really change someone’s attitude until I started working in the restaurant industry as a server. I would see these people come in to eat and they would just be so unhappy when I approached the table. I would LITERALLY see their faces change when they were greeted by my big, cheesy grin! I knew then, that people really just needed more smiles in their lives. I know for myself, that when people greet you with a genuine and warm smile, how that makes me feel inside and so I always made it my business to share mine with everyone. I never knew how this practice would literally save somebody’s life.
I used to travel around the U.S. for a couple of years as a server trainer helping to open up our new locations of the restaurant. As with anything, there is always something more meaningful and deeper that I choose to do with every experience. I saw this traveling to different cities as an amazing way to meet new people and to spread some love and positivity even while talking about how long you have to greet a new customer. I have always loved meeting new people and I have always loved getting to know them. This was no different. This one particular city, however, I wasn’t actually thrilled about. I was excited about being away from home and meeting the new staff, but the actual city itself, wasn’t too thrilling. This ended up being one of my favorite experiences.
I know that the first day of any new job for anyone is nerve wracking as well as stressful so I have always made it my business to put everyone at ease from the moment they walk through those doors. I want them to know that they are in a safe place and that I am on their side and this will be fun! I greet everyone with that HUGE smile and I make it my business to get to know everyone. I believe we all just want to be seen, whether it’s in a job, relationship or just walking down the street. I make sure everyone knows that they are important and valued. I never realized how important this truly was until this particular city.
On the last day of being there, one of the servers asked if he could speak to me outside. I had just finished saying my goodbyes to most of the staff so I just figured that this guy was a bit more private about his goodbyes. He said something that has forever changed my perspective on just how important the “small” things are. He told me he wanted to thank me for literally saving his life. He said that a few days before training started, he found his best friend had hung himself. He went on to say that he wasn’t sure how he was going to get through his own life, let alone a new job. He said he didn’t know how or why he even showed up for that first day but had planned on taking his own life that week. He said he walked in the door and the first person he saw was me and the smile that I greeted him with went straight to his core and he said he showed up every day from there on out to see that same smile. He said the way I “looked” at him and “saw” him and the things I said during training kept him going and before he knew it, he was healing. I literally stood there stunned with tears streaming down my face and just hugged him. It was right then, that I knew what I always knew. The small things, the things we take for granted, a smile, a door being held open for someone, a hello, a “how are you”…all of these things can literally change a person’s life. We never know what someone is going through and we never know what something so simple on our end can be so life saving on theirs.
I haven’t forgotten Christian and I haven’t forgotten to stop smiling. I really hope you all realize how much beauty and love you carry and always be conscious of sharing that with others.
*For daily inspiration and to find out more about me, please feel free to check out my website www.sharingwithshari.com . You can also follow me around the streets of Los Angeles as I ramble on about philosophy, spirituality or anything for that matter on my webseries, "Dashboard Confessions" at www.youtube.com/sharig74. Also, on Fridays, you can find my advice column right here under “Dear Shari.” You can write in regarding any article I write, or any advice you want in general. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . All emails are anonymous. I look forward to your questions!