I had a powerful experience with one incredible woman at a checkout counter. In one minute, it changed the course of my day and week.
Yesterday, I was out of town and shopping at a large chain store. My daughter and I were in the checkout line, and when it was our turn, got called up. “Next in line”… Like most people would, I anticipated a run-of-the-mill interaction where I would be asked if I found everything ok, might be asked if I wanted to open a credit card,would be rung up, and sent on my way in a minute or so.
Instead, I was greeted by a woman, around the same age as myself, with a thick Spanish accent, and she said “hello beautiful“. It caught me by surprise and my daughter and I instantly started smiling. She joked with us, and although I couldn’t understand everything she said (some with an accent and some in Spanish), we laughed and smiled the whole time. She was enjoying her work, and her small interactions, and was certainly making my day better. As I was completing the payment, my daughter walked away. The woman said to her something like, “wait a minute mija, you be nice to your mama”. We all laughed and smiled again. I said, “thank you for calling me beautiful, that made my day”! She said without pause, “All mamas are beautiful“.
I had an instant and deep knowing. Those four words meant: “I see you”, “I appreciate you”, “You, mama, give of yourself selflessly and you are appreciated”. She didn’t have to ask if this was my daughter. She didn’t start with a pleasantry like, “how are you today”? She didn’t even have to speak the same language. She just knew, appreciated , and acknowledged.
This one-minute interaction changed my whole day. In fact, I shared the story with a friend the next day, and I believe it changed her day too. She got it. She felt it. She loved it. She said, yep, “women empowering women”. I think that’s true, but believe it goes beyond. Its people empowering people through simple acts of kindness. There is such a huge ripple effect that comes from small and simple words of kindness. You never know how one simple gesture, or one kind word might impact another human.
So today: I challenge you, and I challenge me, to metaphorically say “hello beautiful”. Pick just one person, or two or three. Someone you know, or even better, someone you don’t. Make someone’s day. Be surprising, be authentic and be kind. I believe this is how we can change the world.