One Smile Can Change The World, This I Believe

Vanessa - Stoneville, North Carolina
Entered on May 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day, this I believe.

I have worked in convenience stores for most of my life. I have experienced good days and bad days at work. I know what it feels like to have everything go wrong that possibly could. I know how it feels to work 16 hour days and I know what it’s like to hate every minute that passes during that day. I’ve been the one in the grocery store checking out the dad who is crying because he can’t even feed his family. And the teenagers who buy milk and Raman Noodles because that’s all they can afford since they’re paying for school. And helped the mom with four kids that comes up $2.00 short after I’ve rang up a basket load of items. I’ve watched the parents fight with their children because they think everything is free and money grows on trees and dealing with the people that don’t have time to wait for anything. I’ve also been in most of these shoes. I’ve experienced it on both sides of the fence.

To be on both sides of the coin is rare in any situation. To know what it feels like to be the one on both sides of the check-out counter makes a difference. How do I know that one smile can change the world? I have had times when I felt like my day couldn’t get any worse and have had a cashier smile and tell me it’s all going to be okay with true hope and sincerity in their voice and that seemed to make all the bad things disappear. I’ve been the cashier in the same situation.

I’ve heard a poor girl pour her heart out to me, telling me her sad story. She was getting beat by her boyfriend. She couldn’t leave or he’d kill her and she couldn’t tell her parents because they would kill him. As I listened to this story, I remembered that a few short years ago, I was this girl in this same situation. I remembered that the cashier took my hand, told me everything would work out and gave me a hug. I remembered how that calmed my fears for at least that moment and gave me a sense of peace. In turn, I tried to do the same thing for this young girl.

A smile of encouragement at the right moment may act like sunlight on a closed-up flower; it may be the turning point for a struggling life. One simple smile can be the decision maker between life and death. Because of these events in my life, I believe that a smile can change the world, that a kind ear can erase the past and how a soft shoulder can shed light on the future. There’s a saying “a friendly look, a kindly smile, one good act, and life is worthwhile”. This I Believe.