I often find that the moments in life that strike me the hardest are the little ones. I said goodbye to someone today, not an individual that I know extremely well, but a regular customer at work that won’t be back until I’m gone. You wouldn’t think that I would be affected by this, after all I only see him for mere moments during the course of the week. Yet, as I shook his hand goodbye I felt unaccountably sad… Through our brief conversations he had become someone I appreciated, valued, and looked forward to.
It’s not the big gestures, the gifts you give or your material value that affects people in your life the most. It is how you treat them on a day to day basis; whether or not you show them respect, look down your nose at them or act like they don’t exist. It all matters. You might think that it’s ok to treat the grocery store clerk like he’s beneath you or snarl at the barista because you’re having a bad day. What can they really do about it? Chances are they won’t remember you the next day anyway. Perhaps they won’t, unless you leave an impression that stands out from the crowd, but what they will remember is how you made them feel. Despite what anyone does for a living, you cannot possibly know what they had to go through to make it to that job that day, or what they are hiding behind their own smiles, snarls or silence. Every person is worth as much as the next, and as such is owed no less respect than you would give the person you love most.
You might only see them for a moment, but that small interaction is more than enough.
I had originally planned to make this upcoming trip to Ecuador a year ago but due to circumstances it never happened. If I had gone, the list of people I would have missed would have been a short one. In the last year I’ve had the chance to meet some of the most exceptional people, and I wish there was some way to show them just how much the opportunity to be a small part of their lives has meant to me. So. To every one of you who brightens my days with your smiles, cheeky winks and riotous stories… I love you. No joke, no exaggeration. You are a beautiful person – I couldn’t feel anything less than love for you. Never give up your ability to make people smile, it is without a doubt one of the greatest gifts you can be blessed with.
I hope that I will always remember just how much these fleeting moments have affected my days; whether I’m scraping by at the bottom of the barrel or ruling the country – I want to remember that a kind word and a smile are so much more likely to change this world than a bitter complaint or scathing remark. I want to be the kind of customer, friend and co-worker whose arrival is looked forward to, not dreaded!
Until we meet again.