I’ve always considered myself a pretty thoughtful person. It’s always been my practice to tell a stranger that I like their haircut or pay the toll for the random car behind me. But I fall into the same rut as everyone else; walking by stranger after stranger without a greeting or looking down at the floor as someone approaches.
Starting work back at the Y, however, has gotten me out of my rut and has reminded and reaffirmed my belief in (I hate to be cliche, but) random acts of kindness. Now, hardly a person gets by me without me greeting them with at least a “hello”, asking someone who looks lost if I can help them, or engaging in a conversation about someone’s weekend. It’s what makes me love where I work and the members and staff with whom I spend my day.
But that’s the the reason for this post. Anyone can “act” friendly for their 4-8 hours a day. What is really cool is that when I finish my day at the Y and go to the grocery store or Target or wherever, I continue to say hi to people as they pass by, or offer to help someone reach something off of a high shelf. And the best part is: THEY SAY HELLO BACK! Most often with a smile but sometimes with a look of complete shock or confusion as to what might be wrong with me. This weekend was great, as I was in the grocery store and overheard a young couple (couldn’t be more than 20) shopping and the girl said, “I should have gotten a basket.” I walked past them and when they turned the corner at the end of the aisle, they just about bumped right into me. As I handed her an empty basket that I had picked up for them and told her, “here you go”, you would have thought that they were just told that they had won the lottery. “Thank you sir”, he said (though I could have done without the “sir” part), and I could hear them whispering as I walked away.
I have not written this post to boast about what a great guy I think I am, but to relay my thought that working within the YMCA community is not just a job nor is it a stage where the employees “act” happy and friendly then leave and go on like everyone else. I truly believe it is a lifestyle. It is a place for people to visit and work who want to be a part of a community. Who want to be in a positive, nurturing and social environment. And if you come into my Y not feeling this way…you better believe I will do my best to make sure you leave feeling better about yourself and your day!