We ought to do good to others
as simply and as naturally
as a horse runs,
or a bee makes honey,
or a vine bears grapes
season after season
of the grapes it has borne.
Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the ways you can.
In all the places you can.
At all the times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as ever you can.
You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion.
Having enjoyed a career for over twenty years working the ‘front lines’ of administrative work and office management, my cheerful personality has been a valuable asset. Prior to that, as an older child, I assisted my mother on Saturdays in her little shop and delighted in operating the old-fashioned lever-operated cash register. Later, as an after-school job, I worked in diners and restaurants. First as a busser, then as a hostess and wait-staff. I learned first-hand how influential a smile, or a frown, can be.
Anyone who has worked with the public knows how tough it can be. The fascinating tendency of people to arrive in ‘waves’ never ceases to amaze me. Line-ups form suddenly, then dissipate. Only to return again. Everyone seems to come all at once!
In the film “The Secret” about the Law of Attraction, I recall a section about line-ups. It showed images of a man who strongly hated lines, unknowingly putting his emotional energy into that. Then having his belief confirmed because practically everywhere he went, from bank machines to restaurant washrooms, he was stuck behind a lineup. We can change our point of view.
And we can choose to share the kindness in our heart with those strangers we interact with as we make our purchases along the way. Those workers dealing all day with the multitudes deserve our support. We can choose to share more kindness than we feel.
I did, as an administrator, pulling on kindness like a uniform. Like police and fire-fighters do with their uniforms, I would visualize pulling on my “happy-face-suit” on those days I felt heartbroken or sick. To do the good job I always did as an administrator. I’m not condoning that behavior, but for me, work was not a place to ‘feel all my feelings’. Rather it was somewhere I knew I was being paid not only for my organizational and administrative skills, but for my sunshiny personality as well. Every client or customer deserves to be greeted with a smile. After all, they are essentially paying my paycheck.
With this background having given me insight and empathy, I am one of those kind patrons who helps brighten workers days. I can’t help it, it’s a part of who I am! However I have seen many good, kind people who do not even think about the workers who help us with our wants, every day. From the service station attendant to the cashier at the store. From the salesperson to the drive-thru or wait-staff. All these people are doing what they can to hang in there, and bring you their A-Game. If the service is lacking and you feel your frustration rising (I admit mine has) do all you can to share more kindness than you feel. Try to brighten their day. These events can ripple out more than you realize, helping the customers after you to have a better experience, because of a happier sales clerk or waitress for example.
When I was a teen I was given an old worn copy of the popular poem “Smile”. That cherished old piece of paper included a mention at the bottom of the page that I have tried in earnest to find online to no avail. The footer comment shared the origin of this poem as being from the manager of Macy’s (I think, or perhaps some other huge department store). Apparently this wise manager witnessed several of his staff being harassed by impatient shoppers during the Christmas holiday season (oh, the irony). He wrote this poem and posted it around the store as a reminder to the PATRONS to please be kind to the cashiers and other staff. I cherished that old wrinkled piece of paper for decades until lost in a move years ago.
I have recreated it here, for you, using an old-fashioned font in honor of its heritage. This poem is reported to be at least forty years old, and possibly much older than that. We do not know the writer’s name. Never have. Perhaps never will. But it was shared with the world as a kind gesture from a poetic soul and I encourage us to spread it around! If so inspired, please copy this image and save it, or recreate it, print it, put it up anonymously in washrooms everywhere! Street corner poles. Store windows if they approve. Wherever you want to. Help us spread the word about the power of a smile.
You will be sharing your light in the world, your kindness, as easily and effortlessly as a horse runs.
Or a bee makes honey.