The Power of a Smile

She handed me an iced tea.  I went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s and she handed me my large iced tea for $1.08.  My everyday addiction. But what she didn’t know was that I was on the phone with Mom who was on the verge of tears.  She is still having this shooting pain from her hip down her leg and the second ct scan, this time of her leg, came back showing no issues either.  Mom was on the verge of tears.  I was beginning to feel the panic I feel as I know Mom is about to start crying because she is overwhelmed. Frustrated. Upset that they can’t figure out what is wrong.  And the woman at the drive-thru handed me my iced tea with the nicest smile on her face and said, “Here you go have a nice day.”  And in looking at her smile I snapped back into reality and calmed down. 

I immediately started talking to Mom in an upbeat voice that said this is going to be figured out.  Maybe it is a nerve in your back.  They were thinking that was a possibility. She was about to call and ask about a ct scan of her back.  She sounded calmer. She said she feels like she’s just lost 2 weeks of her life because of this. I laughed and said well we would all like to lose 2 weeks sometimes.  I got calmer yet became more upbeat.  And soon enough she became upbeat again and we drifted on to other topics. 

I don’t know how I did that. I am sitting here still unsure. But what I do know. I owe a thank you to the woman at the drive thru. She could’ve been rude. She could’ve just given me my iced tea and not said a word or looked at me. But she stopped, she looked into my eyes and she smiled. And that smile made the entire world snap back into place.

It made me think how often maybe sometimes someone just needs a smile. Smiles aren’t a cure for anything but they just have a way of getting inside of you.  Sending a burst of positive feelings through you. It’s a good reminder that you never know how you are being used in other people’s lives, especially complete strangers as you encounter them on a daily basis- at the grocery store, at the gas station, even crossing a street.  But next time I see someone and make eye contact I may think harder about giving them a smile.

And if I need a reminder I’ll just think of the line from my favorite movie Elf: “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.”  

Have you ever struggled with finding the right words to say when your Mom is hurting? Do you ever think about the powerful impact of a smile? Do you like the movie Elf as much as my family does? Any favorite Elf quotes?

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