This I Believe

Ana - Fairview, Oregon
Entered on June 11, 2007

I believe in the little things, like holding the door for a stranger, saying a kind word to someone having a bad day, or even just a quick smile while passing someone on the street. It is these small gestures that keep us human and connected to each other. Good comes from caring for someone you don’t know for this is the foundation of humanity. So when I am asked what brings me joy in life, my answer is simple, the little things.

In my job I meet over a 100 strangers a day. In a typical day I probably witness the same amount of polite and impolite acts. I’ve seen customers cut in line, curse at one another, and be rude as can be. I’ve also seen kind acts, such as a customer buying another customer a bag of cherries they couldn’t afford. Not only have I witness such acts, but I have also experienced them myself.

I have the pleasure to meet complete strangers. Sometimes I even get to know a little bit about them; and sometimes I even open up to them. During the last part of my shift, I had two customers come through my register. Both orders were incredibly large. I was having a horrible day. The store was running out of receipt tape. The check stand I was in was broken. Therefore it was difficult for me to place groceries into the shopping cart. As the bagged groceries piled up on the broken conveyor belt, she just stood there, watching me struggle to put the groceries in her cart. She didn’t offer to help me, or even move her cart closer to make it easier for me. The next costumer was much more thoughtful. As soon as she realized how difficult it was for me to load her cart, she reached over and began to place them into her cart. It made me smile to see someone who is willing to help even in a small way. I told her how grateful I was and mentioned to her how bad my day was going. I could tell from her eyes that she truly cared, even though I was a complete stranger. She then reached over and embraced my hand to comfort me. At that moment I felt touched, and realized that even a small gesture can turn a gray sky blue.

These examples are just a couple of the millions or perhaps billions of small gestures or inactions that occur each day. A moment of one day when one small action occurs may seem so miniscule or obsolete, but when it is broken down to a personal level it can mean the world to someone. One may never know if the bus driver just lost a family member or if the cashier is just having a bad day, but maybe one small gesture could help ease the pain of a lost family member, or stop a bad day in its tracks.