During our travels to the East Coast and back, I was struck by one surpisingly simple, but striking thing:

99% of the people who were in the service industry smiled. The smiled a lot!

From the people we interacted with in truck stops where babies were crying and people were struggling getting supplies to those taking tickets on our whale watching trip to the those running the gates at the campgrounds, they all wore a smile.

Now the cynics out there will tell me this: “Of course they are smiling, that’s their job.”

I think it’s more than that. Our last night, I wanted a recept at the pump, but was told to go inside to get it. I grumbled, but when inside and the girl at the register (I say girl because she looked about 12) punched a few buttons then warning alarms started to go off.

Rather than get upset or angry, she calls out, “Oh John dear, could I get your assistance over here, please?”

John comes over, hits a few buttons, then is on her merry way. She then hits a few buttons, prints out my recept, and as she hands it to me says, “There you go, sugar plum.”


Now that may be an extreme example, but it totally made my day. Other examples popped up on our way to Boston, in and around Boston, and on our way home. I thought it was just me, but my wife made the comment about people “just being happy”.

Personally, I think that’s a huge part, choosing the smile and the attitude. These are workers who’ve been laid off for a while. They’ve not been at work, and since we are only just really feeling the affects of reopening, they’ve not been wore down the swamp of cranky people.


They are happy to be working and that’s just it. They’ve made the choice to be pleasant at work, and by gosh, they are going to do just that.

Whatever you might believe, whether is the more cynical view or one of just having a great attitude, it’s was hard to miss the smiles each and every day. And you know what, those smiles for those in service caused smiles to infect those they were serving. At an open fruit market in Boston, the banter between those selling fruit and those buying was contagious. As we sat and had drinks outside, we watched the owner of a bar “sign” something for one of his waitresses, then they walked off in different directions. He turned to watch her as she looked at his signature, and burst out laughing. I’m not sure what he wrote, but you could see that they were a team.

So, slap a smile on that face when you head out. Smile to the person at the gas station, the bartender, the person checking your groceries. Help those smiles become contagious because you never know, someone just might be in need of one!

And it would be a shame if you weren’t the one to pass it along! 🙂