“Contessa, stay calm…Don’t get upset.” “Deep breath…in and out, in and out.”
These are the words I kept on repeating to myself as I stood on the checkout line at my local Walmart last Saturday night. You might be wondering what triggered this deep breathing/calming episode…well; it was the rude checkout clerk.
My sister and I strategically were looking to see which line to join in order to avoid an extended checkout wait time. As I was looking around to determine the shortest line, a young man signaled for me to come into his checkout lane. Gladly, I called out to my sister to hurry up and join me on the line before someone cut in between us. Thankfully, she reacted quickly and jumped right behind me as we proceeded towards the young man. As soon as I arrived in the lane, I immediately began packing the conveyor belt, placing my many shopping items onto it. I was so focused on that task, that I barely noticed the miserable face of the cashier. He looked completely annoyed, and his face lacked any signs of happiness. Deep down inside I had a bad feeling that this guy was going to annoy me. So, as the young man started to ring up my groceries, I quietly continued to pack the conveyor belt. However, what broke my silence was when he got to my bananas. The truth is, I did not want him to place any other groceries in the bag with them, as the result would be brown bruised bananas. I quickly, said to him “Please can you pack the bananas in a separate bag, because I do not want them to get bruised.” He turned and looked at me with a death stare and said: “Miss, you need to calm down.” “What?!?! What in the world is this guy’s problem?!?!” I silently repeated to myself. Just for the record…let me be clear, I am a very nice person, but DON’T mess with me.
So, I looked at him and smiled and said: “No, I was just making sure that you didn’t place anything in the banana bag because some people do that.” He looked straight at me and said “Calm down” again. I wanted to Bruce Lee him in his throat so badly, but I knew that violence was not the answer…LOL. My heart started to speed, and my adrenaline was beginning to pump because I really wanted to tell this man a piece of my mind. In the meantime, my dear sister Candace was there having the grandest conversation on her cell phone completely oblivious to the situation that was unfolding right before her eyes. At that moment, the cashier saw one of his superiors and a huge smile appeared on his face. Truth be told, it was such a beautiful smile, I wondered to myself why he did not show it more. Bam! In that instance, I knew what I had to do. I turned to him and asked, “How come you do not smile like that for me?” Almost, immediately the young man looked me right in the eyes and one of the biggest smiles that I had ever seen appeared across his mouth. He then said, “Yeah, I saw my co-worker and I remembered something I told him earlier, and it made me smile.” I then said, “Well, you have such a great smile. You should smile more often.”
That opened the door to a wonderful conversation between the young man and myself. The ice king had melted and out came this polite vibrant young man, who possessed such a beautiful smile. We shared a few more laughs and smiles as he wrapped up my transaction, and I ended with the words “keep smiling because you do not know whose life you will touch or save.” He quickly agreed, and said,“Yes, a smile can save lives.” Then he turned to me after my contact solution coupon failed to work, and after my brief rant about how every penny counts and how coupons matter, and he says “Coupons saves lives too!” We both laughed out loud, as I walked away from his line with his contagious bright smile now plastered across my face.
I was reminded of one very true saying from one of my favorite movies “Annie”; “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” A smile can change the darkest moment in someone’s life and create a life-altering light. It is important for us to SMILE, don’t be shy…show off your pearly whites…it can help to make someone’s day or better yet, it can help save their life.