Yesterday I was in Target picking up a few things and waiting for a prescription to be filled.  Since it was my first time in that particular location I had a few minutes, and ended up in a rather lengthy conversation with an older gentleman.  He too was waiting, picking up medicine for his very ill wife who has been battling ovarian cancer for 7 years.  We chatted about his children, work, the state of the country, the state of healthcare… or should I say HE chatted and I listened and smiled.  

As he drifted from topic to topic I couldn’t help but think how many times this man had probably been to Target picking up prescriptions.  All the long drives home alone from the hospital, the nights he spent worrying, and the time lost to uncontrollable circumstances. I felt this strong sense of compassion for a man I had just met and will probably never see again.  Even when I had no clue what he was talking about, I felt compelled to keep listening.

At one point the pharmacist came by and he asked if he was holding me up.  She grinned and winked at me, as if to say ‘thank you for talking to him,’ and replied, “No, we’re enjoying her smile.”  The old man nodded and said, “Yes, she does have a lovely smile.”

Kids, I felt like crap yesterday.  My head was clogged, I couldn’t breathe, I had not a stitch of make up on and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t showered yet that day.  Not one ounce of me felt pretty, engaging, or like I could make any sort of difference in this poor man’s life.  Yet, all it took was a smile. And the best part of all?

It was free. ;) 

Pay it forward.