by Joseph Segal, One of the Kindness Brothers
Author of the free 365 Days Of Kindness Newsletter
Before I tell you about my day of smiles please allow me to give you the short version of the origin story of my Thank You Cards experiment in daily kindness.
One day when I was out shopping in town at a local Jamba Juice I noticed most of the people working there, and many of the customers were looking kind of down. They were not only looking as though they were unhappy, but they were looking down at their feet which is kind of a universal sign of somebody who is either deep in thought or not feeling good about life. And it made me kind of sad to see. I noticed this in lots of places, people ignoring one another, not making eye contact, not talking, as if we were all alone together in the world.
So, I started joking around with some of the employees and in the process, I shared some sincere compliments about the way they were doing their work. I noticed that they started to respond in profoundly positive ways as though I just turned the light on inside their hearts for a moment.
And the other thing I noticed was how I felt when I was able to make a positive difference in someone’s day. It felt good! It was like eating great chocolate or getting a hug from someone who loves me, it was that kind of good feeling!
That’s when I had the idea to take some of the sincere kind words and put them on a little business card with some pretty graphics. I shared them with people when I went out about living my life and shopping in town or sitting next to people in the doctor’s waiting room.
I thought this way when I talk with people and see opportunities to brighten somebody’s day, I can give them something tangible they can hold on to so they can remember how it feels to have someone notice and appreciate them.
So, I made these cards that I now call Thank You Cards or Happy Cards, and I think they came out really nice. In fact, I know they did come out well because when I share one with somebody their eyes light up, and oftentimes they’ll take a step backward, put a hand on their heart, and say something like, “Wow you just made my entire day!” And they hold on to the card as if I just handed them actual money. They usually put the card away in their wallet, purse or phone.
One manager at a deli counter at the market told me she was going to read the card to her workers every morning before they started their shifts! Imagine that!
So, I went out for breakfast today with my brother Leonard. When we were paying the bill, I noticed the woman at the cash register had this wonderful smile, so I said, “You have the most beautiful bright shining aura around you!” I really did see this great energy she was carrying with her. She smiled and I saw her eyes sparkle, and she said, “That is the most beautiful compliment I have ever received in my whole life!”
So, I said to her, “You deserve it!” And then I handed her one of these thank you cards I had created for just such a time as this, and I read it to her line by line,
You are awesome!
A beautiful person who is kind and thoughtful!
And you make the world a better place!”
And she took it in her hands smiling and said “This is really wonderful! Is this for me?” She asked. And I said yes, it’s for you!
Her coworker came over to look over her shoulder at what she was so happy about, so I gave the cashier another card to share with her coworker and she was happy that she had the opportunity to give it to her and help her feel good as well. I could see the positive ripples spreading out.
I love sharing how very happy I felt to see how a few kind words sincerely offered to this young lady resulted in her beaming with happiness and saying that I had given her the best compliment she’d ever received in her entire life.
Because I know that everybody’s going through something that most of the time, we are not aware of ourselves, and I know that people who work in retail with the public often have a very difficult and stressful job. So, if I could spend a moment and help someone to feel good then that feels like it’s a big part of my purpose in life.
So, then we went to our local Costco big box store for a little more shopping so I could get my steps in walking up and down the aisles in this giant store and buying a few new delicious food items for the house.
I saw a young man wearing a very colorful hoodie sweatshirt filled with positive sayings, so I let him know how awesome I thought he looked in that hoodie and he said, “Wow! Thank you, man!” And I felt like ~bam! I earned another smile!
Now I was feeling like I was on top of the world because I have this superpower to help people smile and feel better about themselves! And I could share with you that I’ve been going through a lot in my life recently. I’ve been having difficulties and feeling down on myself and my life. So being able to connect with other people in this positive caring way and seeing their smiles and gratitude feels like it turned the tide of fate in my life a bit. It reminded me about what’s truly important to me.
And I continued my shopping up and down the aisles of my favorite store with my brother Leonard. And they have this beautiful massive display of roses on display for Valentine’s Day, I’m sure. And I was admiring these awesome bouquets of roses and this nice lady walking by me smiled at me, so I returned her smile and I said, “You have such a beautiful smile! It’s even more beautiful than all of these roses!” And she smiled, put her hand on her heart, and mouthed thank you to me as if I had just given her a gift. And I thought bam! I earned another smile! I shared more love today!
Now I wasn’t giving people compliments just to give people compliments. Everything I said I meant from my heart, sincerely. And it didn’t take very long to make a positive difference in a few people’s lives that hopefully they will remember positively.
I’m not sharing this story because I want to get a pat on the back for being a nice guy. Mostly my rewards come from inside these days. I just want to share how we can make life a little bit better for each other by noticing each other, noticing what people care about, and sharing a few kind words from our hearts. And with everything going on in the world today, and all of the struggles people go through in everyday life with their health, with money, with family and relationship issues, I think it’s more important than ever to see each other through the loving eyes and share a smile when we can.
If you want to read more, and find inspirational quotes, memes, and ideas about sharing kindness I think you’ll love our free happiness newsletter we send out every morning. You can subscribe at JosephSegal.com
Thank you and God Bless you!