A Smile is a Gift A Smile is a Gift

An older gentleman who works at one of our local gas stations taught me a valuable lesson the other day. He did it through a simple compliment which led to a conversation.

I had pulled in to "fill up" as I am the Chase Van Driver for Religious Freedom Walk 2012 and needed to make sure I had sufficient amounts of gasoline in the tank before hitting the Camino (Path) for the day.

He greeted me when I rolled down my window. I smiled and answered his "How are you?" with "Just fine, thank you, and how about yourself, today?"

He stopped.

He said, "Wow! What a joyful smile you have! Thank you for sharing that with me!"

I was completely stunned (and humbled). I had never in my life had someone thank me for smiling.

In fact, I didn't think much of it as it seems "natural and appropriate" to smile when someone greets me.

"Well, gee sir", I said. "You're quite welcome and thank YOU for your very kind words".

He went on (as it takes a LONG time to fill a 32-gallon tank 15 passenger van, ha ha) to talk with me about how he feels that the general population has "lost its smile" and that many people don't offer theirs to others in their rushed, chaotic, stressed lives.

"We need a LOT more smiling in the world" he said.

I agreed.

He then asked about the signs on my van which identified me as the Chase Car for RFW 2012. He inquired eagerly, "Are you driving people who are walking for religious freedom?"

"Yes, sir! I sure am!" I gleefully responded.

"That's nice. That's really, really nice", he said. "And, that nice smile of yours will help you, too."

Funny, the more he talked, the more I felt like smiling!

"I heard a lady on the radio once", he began again. (He added a few interjections here about how long it takes my van to fill and what size tank did I have and such)

"This lady was like you. She wrote and worked for religious beliefs. And, some people didn't like that and would attack her for it. When the man on the radio asked her how she handled that, she said, *Oh...it's alright. When we are persecuted for our faith we just need to remember to wear a smile in our heart and show it on our face".

I was floored. I was moved. I had had a VERY busy, chaotic, stressed day (week), and that kind elderly man's words were just what my weary soul needed in order to push on.

I never enjoyed my time at a gas station so much as did that day.

I thanked this man and told him that he had given me a wonderful gift and that I would treasure those words and the lesson I learned.

A smile is far more important that we sometimes realize.

I am striving, now, to wear one on my heart and show it on my face.

Copyright 2012 Judy Dudich