The power of a smile might just surprise you.
The power of a smile might just surprise you. shironosov

Smile and pass it along

Many years ago I was assigned to work for several months in Rockhampton in Central Queensland. It's an interesting place, Rocky.

It is surrounded by hills and usually several degrees warmer or colder than the coastal villages on the other side of the range.

I was a young businessman and my role was to develop opportunities for employment through a government contract we had at the time.

I was driven to achieve this and had been successful in many places throughout regional Queensland.

Dressed in my business outfit, which may have appeared a little out of place in a relaxed town like Rockhampton, I would walk from my office across the pedestrian mall and to one of several cafes that were in the centre of the city heart. It was a nice spot to wander and people watch, which is something I have done since I was a young policeman in NZ.

I am frequently impressed by how lovely people can be.

One morning as I was crossing the mall I noticed a young woman who was sitting at a cafe table.

The reason I noticed her was that she looked incredibly sad.

There's an energy that we all give off that highlights our mood and as I walked past her the feeling was palpable and I was deeply touched by her mood.

I took a table at a separate cafe across the mall and had my coffee.

I was drawn to this poor girl and I wondered about her story and wondered what I could do, if anything, to lighten her load. In finishing my coffee I decided to take some action.

Nearby was a florist so I went in and bought a small bunch of the brightest flowers they had on sale.

Walking out feeling slightly apprehensive and embarrassed about how this might be received I approached her table and offered her the flowers saying simply that "I hope that this might add some light to your day”.

She looked up and seemed stunned by the gesture as I, Captain Gallant, turned and started walking away.

Looking over my shoulder briefly, I failed to see the banana skin that was under my heel and as I turned my feet flew out from under me.

I flipped straight on to my back landing with no grace at all a few feet from her chair.

Completely embarrassed, I got quickly to my feet.

I turned, bowed and walked off to her huge smile and peals of laughter coming from the many other people at the tables around her.

What could I do but laugh as well? I'd achieved what I'd set out to do, albeit not in the way that I had anticipated.

Having learnt not to take myself too seriously, I smile at myself a lot more and today it seems the most natural thing to bring people light and laughter.

Try it. Smile at the next person you see - a real smile, a happy smile. See what happens. I almost guarantee you'll get one back. That's a pretty good trade isn't it?

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