I Believe A Smile Is Contagious
My family is involved in a program called Loaves and Fishes at my church. We serve meals to the homeless and others in need at a community center. My job is usually to walk around with a cart and serve drinks to people seated at the tables. One night I approached a man that frightened me. He was a very tall man with long hair and a long beard. I could tell the years had not been kind to him. When I gave him a glass of milk, he smiled at me, revealing one missing tooth, and suddenly, he didn’t seem so frightening. This made me smile and when I looked up, the whole table was smiling. A simple smile allowed me to see that smiling is as contagious as the flu. I believe a smile is contagious.
I have the choice to be a positive or a negative person. I have had plenty of times in my life where things got bad, and it felt like I was being pulled under more and more, gasping for air. In these situations I try to put a smile on my face and use them as a learning experience. I believe that using situations as learning experiences is a way to pull me out of that deep water and make myself happy.
I have a 10 year-old crazy brother. We went on vacation last month and I came back only to find my cell phone was missing. I turned the house upside down looking for it for three weeks. I was really disappointed when I couldn’t find it and decided I would have to buy a new one with the money I was going to receive from my upcoming birthday. When my mom picked me up from hockey one night, she told me she found my phone. I was overjoyed with happiness! She told me that my brother had found it 3 weeks ago and hid it “as a joke”. Of course I was ready to yell at him, but when I got home and confronted him, he let out a huge smile. I looked at him and started laughing instead, and that shows how far a smile can go to change a situation.
Babies can always make you smile. Last week in church we were sitting behind a family with a baby girl. She was draped off of her dad’s shoulder and when I looked up she smiled at me. I smiled back and laughed silently, because the pastor was giving his sermon. The same thing happens when I visit my baby cousins.
Next time I’m in public, I’ll try a little experiment, smile at everyone I meet and see how many people smile back. I predict that the results will prove that smiling is just as contagious as the common cold. I believe a smile is contagious.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.