Despite the ever-increasing frequency, I’m a nervous traveler. I like to get to the airport EARLY. Even for my bi-weekly flights, I end up waiting for more than an hour and it’s fine by me. I prefer to have enough time to settle in and find my gate. Get a cup of coffee. Wander around. Buy mentos, my preferred travel candy. You know, properly experience all that the airport has to offer.
I’m always worried about missing my flight, even when it’s irrational, so today was quite a treat. My friend Kristin and I planned a special lunch date to toast the end of a very stressful week. Over cheese sticks, cider and salad, we debriefed the week. I ended up at the airport early, as usual, but in quite a spectacular mood. I chatted with my Thursday shuttlebus driver, Jose, (Bill is on Mondays) and I was even more than friendly to the TSA agent at security. I was so friendly in fact, that he asked me if I always looked people in the eye “like that” and smiled. “Yeah, I suppose so,” I said, smiling once again and asking him how his day was going. He asked why I had “such a smiley mugg on” and I told him it was just a great day. He looked perplexed and let me through to get my bags scanned.
It struck me as odd that normal, boring kindness would seem so strange to him. It was just a smile and some eye contact. I may have even said “How are you?” (Of course, I suppose when you are TSA, life looks different.) However, walking around the airport, I notice that no one smiles. No one looks happy at all. So in the last hour, I’ve made it a point to look at people and just give them a nice, toothy grin. It’s astounding how they react… some automatically smile back, some seem to wonder “Do I know her?” and some stare back with perplexed expressions. I hope that no matter what, their day is brightened just a bit.
So, in grand Pollyanna fashion, I encourage you to SMILE, dammit. Show strangers a little kindness in your day to day, because it seems that our checkers, and salespeople, and TSA agents don’t get a lot of smiling faces.