There is a lady (probably my mothers’s age) I see almost every working day at the restaurant on my campus. She has the biggest, most natural and widest smile ever, and she has the warmest “Halllooo” ever.
There she is smiling, laughing, & talking cheerfully to her customers 24*7, and in the last six months I have never ever seen her remotely sad or upset. In fact, she would give a huge complex to most characters from a feel good movie. (Remember Rajesh Khanna in Anand, or Roberto Benigni in Life is beautiful?)
Its incredible how a person can come to work, make a conversation with EVERY customer, and have some nice things to say to everybody. Most days I don’t go to her ice cream and desserts counter (I cant think of any person more suitable to serve you sweet dishes!). We could be having a quiet lunch somewhere in the corner. She bellows a loud “Halllloo’ and in case we missed her, follows it up with a “Guten Tag!”
Every single day I cross her, she pauses to have a few minutes of friendly banter. She cannot speak more than 5 words in English, and I cannot speak more than 5 words in German. Yet I talk to her daily in a ritualistic way; the same applies to my team mates who lunch with me. On some days when work is stressful, I go and get an ice cream from her and listen to her 200 questions in German about how I am doing. I just nod something silly back, and she pretends she can understand me! No problem in the world appears significant after that ice cream, and it’s got nothing to do with the ice cream 🙂
Some gestures, people, and smiles permeate all artificial barriers of language / culture / race.
I consider myself a pretty light hearted, warm, and occasionally funny person. But I can NEVER have a smile around me all day. Not even if I try to fake it.
Its incredible how we make a big fuss about celebrities from sports, entertainments, art fields, but hardly stop to applaud the heroes we see in our lives everyday. To me she is one such hero. In an increasingly cynical world driven by ambition, greed, hatred, stress, and complexity, some people remind you that life is essentially simple and meant to be lived with a smile.
May her tribe increase!