Short Story Sunday 139: Smile

            If you’re having a bad day, all it takes to make it better is for someone to be kind and hand you a smile. If you’re having a good day, all it takes to make it a little brighter is for someone to be kind and smile. It works both ways.

I was heading to the dentist and dreading it. I never enjoyed going to the dentist. I’m pretty sure no one really enjoys going to the dentist. I didn’t like the noise or the smells of the office and I certainly didn’t like the feel of it on my teeth.

So when I parked my car I sat in the front seat for a couple of minutes. I was a bit early for my appointment and even though there was a slight chance that they could take me early and I would get it over with, I just didn’t feel like getting out of the car. So I sat on my cell phone for a little bit.

When I finally did get the courage to head into the building, I noticed an older man sitting just outside the front door. He was in a wheelchair looking up at the sky. A younger woman dressed in scrubs sat behind him on the rock wall talking on her cell phone.

I was going to just walk right on by, but the man and I made eye contact. Not even thinking, I gave him a smile. Stranger or not, whenever I lock eyes with someone I always smile at them. I don’t know why, it’s just something I’ve always done.

“Hi, how are you?” he smiled back at me.

“I’m good. How are you?” I said politely, but kept walking. I slowed my pace to give him a chance to respond, but I wasn’t about to stop.

“I’m good, thank you.” He replied looking happier than anyone else would if a stranger spoke to them.

I went into the dentist not thinking anymore of the conversation that I just had. I checked myself in to the receptionist when I made it to the waiting room. I waited for about ten minutes, went in, got my teeth cleaned, and left. It was just like any other dentist appointment and I was glad that it was over for another six months.

When I walked out the front door of the building I noticed the nurse was gone, but the gentleman was still sitting at the end of the walkway.

We didn’t make eye contact this time, but as I walked by him I smiled and said, “Have a good rest of your day.”

The man looked at me as though confused. Then he smiled back. “Thank you,” he said sweetly almost surprised that someone was acknowledging him. “You have a nice day as well.”

“Thank you.” I gave him a nod and continued on my way.

As I walked back to my car I wondered what he was doing out there. Was he just out for a walk and trying to get in his daily dose of sunshine? Was he there for his own dentist appointment and was waiting for a ride back home? Where did his nurse go and why did he need a nurse in the first place? Was he a part of an assisted living place? How often did friends or family visit him?

I wasn’t sure why I was thinking so much on it, but I was happy that I seemed to be able to make him happy while he sat outside, no matter what he was doing or why or what kind of a mood he was in. I felt as though I brightened his day.

I started the engine and pulled out of my parking spot. The lot was a one-way place so I was going to drive by the old man on my way out of the parking lot. I wondered if anyone was going to pick him up anytime soon, even though I had just walked by him just two minutes ago.

Sure enough, when I drove by him, he was still sitting there. I took my hand off the wheel and waved to him with a bright grin on my face. He saw me and his face lit right up.

He waved back to me giddily.

I wasn’t sure what that man’s story was, but I think I made his day a little brighter regardless. If I did, that made my day a little brighter too.

So, if you’re in a good mood, share a couple of smiles. It works both ways.

Words: 767

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