Thursday, January 08, 2009

Smiles open doors

You remember when I spoke of one of the folks at the Senior Center, the gentleman who was quite hard of hearing? The first few days I was there I noticed he didn’t interact with anyone and one of the other folks commented that he was just odd. I didn’t know of his deafness at the time and I don’t think anyone else knew of his problem. I noticed he was having a problem with the computer and when I offered to help he said, quite curtly, that he couldn't’t hear and I should write notes. So I did. He didn't seem very happy that I insinuated myself into his world. Since then I have made a point of always saying hello when he was there and he began saying good-bye to me when he left.

Well today when I got in I noticed that the web page he was looking at was not at maximum size. I "asked" him if he would like it bigger, he nodded, I clicked on the box in the corner and voila – full size page. He gave me a big smile and said thanks. On his way out, he asked me if I could help him set up an email account. I told him “Of course”. He said “Next time”. I’ll have to remember to bring lots of paper with me to write out my side of the conversation.

I reached out to him and he responded. A smile opens so many doors. How often do we pass someone by because we think they are odd or unfriendly, when all it would take is a smile to open a door? For how ever long he has been going to the senior center and hanging out in the computer room, everyone thought he was unfriendly. No one managed to figure out that, despite hearing aids and his ability to speak, he couldn’t hear them!

I’m please as punch with myself, that my compulsion to stick my nose into everything and to try to help has had a positive outcome. (Let’s face it, sometimes I get smacked down, and rightly so in many cases, for that kind of interference.)

Please, smile at that odd person you keep encountering in your daily travels. It just might open a door you didn’t know was there.

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