Today, a road construction crew member smiled at my father and I as we drove past her. This really struck me, and I didn’t know why until I started thinking that I rarely see the person holding the sign to tell us what to do even acknowledge that we exist, let alone smile at us.
She had spun her sign around to let us know that it was our turn, allowing us into the other lane so that we could drive around the trucks, while the other crew members worked to raise a manhole for a future paving project. And as we passed her by in her orange vest, she was alert to our presence, looking in the car window and smiling brightly and pleasantly. Why? She didn’t have to do that. She will not get paid extra for that extra effort of civility, friendliness, kindness. Perhaps she did it because that’s what she does, because that’s who she is — a person who doesn’t slack in her job or complain about it, a person who keeps her chin up and her eyes open, a person who is willing and eager to interact kindly with the people she encounters, even if only in passing.
That little, ordinary moment in a little, ordinary day opened up my eyes, my mind, and my heart to something rather extraordinary: simple human goodness. Her smile made me smile too, inside and out, appreciating the goodness of being aware of our surroundings, of being a present, receptive, and giving human, of taking the time to go slow.
© 2018 Christina Chase