Just a Smile

Let me start with a question – How easy or difficult is it for you to smile at a regular stranger. It is very difficult for me or rather it used to be difficult.

This is my story of how a shy, hesitant smile snowballed into a story of positivity in my life.

Today, as I walk towards my office entrance, I get a 100-watt toothless smile from the attendant managing the morning rush of cabs. He never fails to wave out to me and gesture if I had my morning tea. I wave back smiling and gesture right back at him.  I enter my office and get a beautiful smile from my security staff as she winks and says, “3 more days!” - it’s a standing joke between us to countdown the days to Friday before the weekend starts. Near the lift lobby, I wave to yet another smiling face and ask him if his leg has stopped hurting.

The traffic attendant is a 70+ year Malay gentleman, the security lady near the reception is a 60+ year Chinese grandma, the smiling security near the elevators is a 60+ Indonesian grandpa and I am a 40-year-old Indian mum. They speak a handful of English and I do not speak their language but every morning we brighten each other’s day with just a smile. Just imagine the first thing you see when you enter office are smiling faces – not the blink and you miss smile but the full ear to ear smile. 

Just like most of us, I would start my day with the usual hustle bustle of reaching office, getting kids to school on time and before we know, we have reached our office desk and dived right into work. Sometimes I would absently wish them and sometimes I would walk right past them.

I don’t know why but that day I smiled at the traffic attendant and I got that beautiful toothless smile and he asked me if I had my coffee. We started chatting and he bid me off with such warmth that I couldn’t help but marvel at the happiness it brought me.

Now it has avalanched into 100-watt smiles from the cleaner in my condo to the security guard who sings the 70s and 80’s music with me while I wait for my pick-up to the bus drivers.

My kid picked this habit from me and now the cleaner waits for her every afternoon when she comes back from school to open the back gate to save her a long walk via the main entrance in the hot sun. All because of a smile.

So, the next time you walk out of your home or are about to enter the office, take a pause and smile at your regular stranger and see your life bloom with smiles and small pockets of happiness.

Written by Shaheen Kazi

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