Posts Tagged ‘smile’

I have a favorite coffee shop. It has become near-ritual that when I am working at a certain place on a certain day, I and a friend will stop in this store to grab a bite to eat before our shift starts. The place is a little pricey but the space is so inviting and the people, when not overwhelmed by the masses of customers, are so friendly, it is worth the expense. Recently we visited. One of my favorite managers was behind the counter and he was directing staff and clearly someone hadn’t shown up for their shift and so he was having to step in to make the coffees and as he stood by the machine, scowling, frustrated, multi-tasking, I asked, “Where’s your smile?” At his blank stare, I added,”Whenever I’ve come in here, you’ve always greeted me with a smile. What happened to it?” The man burst out laughing. As my friend and I left his establishment, we left him smiling. How long that smile lasted I don’t know and I don’t think duration matters.


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That was my first reprimand at my first paying job as a 15 year old in Lynchburg, Virginia.  I believe it was in summer at McDonald’s near the public library.  The manager had placed me at a register and was watching me from the lobby.  I had learned the manual well of the various phrases from “Welcome to McDonald’s. How may I help you?” to “Would you like some fries with that?” and so on.  I was a bit perplexed by the smile comment but I gave it go on the next orders throughout the day.  It was midweek and during a block of time when mostly older folk would come in and buy a cup of coffee or tea.  And what happened near the end of my shift?  Well, as I took a silver-haired lady’s two dollars and gave her some change back, she took my hand, patted it and said, “My dear, you have a lovely smile.  You have a good day.”  And I said, “You too, ma’am.  See you tomorrow.”  What brings to mind this memory of making people feel welcome?  There’s been an interesting series of articles in the New York Times about people, especially seniors, sitting too long in the fast food restaurant.  As with any story, there are many ways to dissect the issues but I think this morning’s article about “lessons learned” from the recent clash presents some good food for thought, not about how a business should be run but more about how over time people operate in the world: The Urban Home Away From Home.

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Here’s my short list of things making me smile at this moment:

* a small red clay frog sitting on my desk, its bright black eyes shining in the lamplight.  I bought it for my friend Melissa but I keep forgetting to mail it to her.

* the wily little mouse in Steve’s kitchen and Steve’s fervent wish that it would simply learn to wear diapers.  Meanwhile he’s feeding it … I mean baiting it … with increasingly gourmet concoctions, from hummus to fresh strawberries.

* recent conversations with my oldest brother as he shares more family stories from a time when I was too little to notice anything but a baby bottle.

*beautiful African images (see above) just shared by a nephew who has more of the travel bug in his blood than his world-traveling aunt ever did.

Maybe there will be more things by the end of the day.  I must admit the impetus for this post was just viewing Ron Gutman’s TED video, The Hidden Power of Smiling.

So … what’s making you smile?  😉

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