April 24, 2007
I believe in defeating the Thursday blues. People walk across parking lots, along city streets and in and out of stores everyday. Everyday people pass each other hurriedly, consumed with their dilemmas and their deadlines. They avoid eye contact with strangers and the selfless gesture of a smile is an exertion some cannot afford, especially on Thursdays.
Getting up early to crawl through two hours of traffic without a single Starbucks in sight is not the recommended way to start the day. But that is how my Thursday began. My cell phone was dead, my socks were mismatched, my hair rivaled Einstein’s and I really believed something was growing in the floor board of my car. I was five minutes late everywhere I went that day, all eyes on my disheveled mess. McDonald’s had no hamburgers and 7-11 was out of slurpees. I hate Thursdays.
My final stop on Thursday was at a gas station on my way home to a hot bath and chocolate, lots of it. As I pulled up next to the gas pump, a howling monsoon spontaneously appeared and began a torrential downpour as I opened my door. I had to choose the only gas station within 400 miles that was not covered. Did I mention I hate Thursdays?
On the mad dash from my car to the gas station’s door, a wondrous thing happened. A gentleman stood just inside the door preparing for the return journey to his car. He pulled up the collar on his polo and pulled his ball cap down low as he headed out into the dismal weather. As we passed each other, two complete strangers caught in a rainstorm, he turned his face to me and flashed me a wide grin. I could not help but return the smile. Just then, my day wasn’t quite so awful. I was reminded in that second that there is still altruism in the world. I felt just a little better because someone smiled at me that day. My Thursday got a little brighter. I went into the store and he got in his car to leave. I never saw the man again.
Today is a glorious Tuesday for me and I am headed shamelessly for a chocolate ice cream cone. You, dear stranger, are having a Thursday. I see you coming and consider averting my eyes when I am reminded of the kind man who smiled at me that horrid Thursday. I have a decision to make. Do I pretend not to notice you or do I flash you a grin and hope that it brightens your day a little? I decide to smile.
Whenever I see a stranger experiencing the Thursday blues, I think of the man that helped defeat mine that terrible day. Being reminded that kindness still exists made my bad day a little less awful. I hope that my face will remind someone else.
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