Through my association with people I feel that some do not realize what a simple greeting or compliment can do for a person. The person receiving the compliment may not outwardly show it, but it is usually very much appreciated. It can change my whole day when someone that I don’t even know just sends a friendly “hello” or “how’s it goin” my way.
I am a little league umpire for my city. I came to realize it was one the most stressful jobs around. On my first game, I had a lot of frustrated parents and coaches. I was very nervous and I didn’t know that I actually had to concentrate on every aspect of the game. If I didn’t, I would have a rude awakening when I had to call a play out or safe, and I didn’t see it. At one point of the game that happened and I totally made the wrong call. A boy was clearly safe on a slide to second. I was just daydreaming and said the first word that came to mind, “OUT.” And wow, I felt pretty bad for the kid I called out. He looked pretty angry and disappointed as he took the long walk back to his dugout. This was only one of the incidences that made the parents and coaches’ anger escalate.
So it was the end of the game, of course the adults were not satisfied with my umpiring. I was pretty down, as would anyone be when all those people criticize you or hours. All of the players had just given the opposite teams high fives. I just finished talking to one of the coaches and this little kid came up to me and shook my hand. He said, “ thanks, and good job.” I remember what it is like being a kid, and I know I would have never done what he did. I just wouldn’t have had the courage and I probably wouldn’t have even thought of doing it. That had such an impact on my down spirit.
He continues to shake my hand after every game, so now I just expect it. And it never gets old. A friendly person can never get old. From this, I have tried to just say hi to people that I usually wouldn’t talk to. I know it made my day and I know it can make others’ day.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.