How are you today?
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you consider the reality that this person opens gates for hundreds of people daily, people who are just there about their business and, therefore, have little time or interest to spare on small talk, then you will understand and appreciate how much of a big deal it is.
Consider also that before now, I had no idea what his name was.
One word that flies around when Nigeria is mentioned across the world, apart from the negative ones, is happiness. At some point, Nigerians were considered the happiest people in the world. It has changed – and I blame no one. It’s hard to go through what we go through daily and retain your sense of humour.
That’s why I appreciate kindness so much.
I have met some really kind people – and these people are sometimes in the strangest places. We all have encountered the arrogant security guard who makes every moment searching for parking space a sentence in hell. And we also have encountered the boss who is so polite and kind you wonder if indeed he is the boss or he’s just sitting in.
The sweet thing about kindness is that it’s a two-way deal. You cannot do an act for kindness for someone and not get something. Asking a complete stranger “How are you today?”and getting a smile in return is priceless.
I mean, how much in terms of cash is a smile worth?
Sometimes, when I’m feeling blue and moody, I wish there was someone waiting for me at home; someone who would just ask me “How was your day?” and expect an answer.
Unfortunately, such is not the case.
But I have found a way of dealing with that. When I feel that way, I start to think of other people who feel like I do in that moment, and I either put my hand to my pen and write the kind of stuff I would like to read when I’m feeling like that or I simply pick up the phone and make a call with a simple aim – to ask someone how they are.
If you do a lot of driving in Lagos you would understand, with a different dimension, just how angry Nigerians are. People drive as though it’s a race; like we’re all headed to the same destination and the earlier you got there, the more points you earned. People will cut you off without a thought and you’re not even headed in the same direction. But every now and then, you meet a driver who is so patient it’s like he/she is stupid.
You have no idea how much self-control you need to have that kind of patience.
But it’s healthy. There’s so much peace to be had in giving someone else passage – even though you have right of way. And then, you get a smile and a wave for your efforts.
Really, can you think of an act of kindness that costs you nothing and gives you a feeling like nothing else can?
I thought so too.
So as you go through your very busy day trying to give yourself reason to do it again tomorrow or the day after that, don’t forget the person whose day you can improve with a smile and a kind word or act. Trust me, it’s like magic.
Well, this is me asking you, faithful and kind reader –
How are you today?