Written by Alyssa Friedman
A few days ago I had an experience that completely changed my day around. It wasn’t something big and out of the ordinary, but on that specific day it was exactly what I needed. Getting ready for school had been a complete blur. I had woken up late, I took a quick shower, threw on comfortable clothes, and grabbed a breakfast bar I could eat on the go. I was overwhelmed with stress from upcoming finals, was definitely feeling more anxious than most days, and was already counting how many hours I had left until I could be back home to decompress.
Walking to class I was looking at my phone and occasionally glancing up to make sure I wouldn’t run into anyone, and as I turned a corner I made eye contact with an older man who immediately locked eyes with me and gave me a huge smile. He then said the simple word “Hi”. That’s it. It was nothing special, but in that moment I felt my attitude and view of the day completely change. That morning I was trapped inside my mind barely interacting with the world around me.
It was one of those days that I knew from the start just wasn’t going to be all that great, yet by being simply interacted with by a stranger, I felt more grounded. It was strange to me how much this act of recognition stuck with me throughout the day, but what was left echoing in my mind was the importance of effortless gestures of kindness. Maybe I looked distraught and tired, or maybe I looked more put together than I felt, but this man’s decision to say hi to me brought me back to reality and left me smiling long after our interaction.
Overall this experience reminded me how much of an impact one smile or one quick hello can have on someone. You will never know what someone is going through or how their day has gone so far, but by taking a few seconds to be kind, you could change the way their day is going. So today I challenge you to take a moment to be extra kind, you never know how much someone needs it.