The Man with the Smile

It’s the year 2009. I ease my car into the parking lot outside work slowly, a hundred thoughts already running through my head — things to take care of, mentally preparing to start another working day and such other things. A man in a blue T-Shirt approaches my car, a big grin on his face. He is one of the many cleaners that frequent the parking lot in the hopes of getting a car to clean and make a few bucks.

Unfortunately I already have a car cleaner near my house who cleans up the exterior thrice a week for a nominal fee. I smile back and apologetically refuse his services. The grin never leaves his face as I walk away, lost in my own thoughts.

Years have passed by since that day. I’m now on my fourth car. And yet when I come into the parking lot, he knows it’s me. He knows he is not going to make any money out of my car as it’s always clean when I pull into the parking space. And yet, he always sparesa minute to smile, at times even indicate a free parking space with a wave of his hand. With no vested interest whatsoever. Just a simple gesture of one human being helping another.

It’s not just me either. Everyone at work remembers him instantly if you say “the smiling car cleaner in the parking lot”. He helps everyone unconditionally, finding parking spaces, or just lighting up your day with a wonderful smile.

In a world with a constant theme of hidden agendas and back biting and no one lifting a finger to do something unless there is some personal gain, this man stands out for me. Sometimes I wonder, what exactly does he have to smile about? Day after day he’s roaming that parking lot in search of car cleaning customers, earning a pittance, braving the extreme heat and cold of the outdoors. There are a few others who wears the same blue T-Shirt — the car cleaning company’s uniform. Yet none of them stick in my memory like he does. All the rest of them look cynical or resigned with their fate, grim faces accepting the grim reality of life.

He has managed to crack the code of staying happy and spreading happiness even when he’s had a really hard life. While hundreds of people zip in and out of that parking lot going about their daily business, there he stands, smiling and waving and just spreading joy.

I wonder how many people he has cheered up over the years. His face lights up so magically at the sight of a familiar face entering the parking lot that you cannot help but smile back, wave and go back to your life, with the positive energy of that smile adding so much to your day that you realise at that moment in time.

If a man facing so many hardships on a daily basis can take out so many moments in his day to spread cheer, so can the rest of us.

One smile at a time. That’s all it takes!

Photo credit – Yos Photography

Author’s Note – This post originally appeared in SiyaWoman. The content has been slightly changed for relevance to present time. Republished with permission from SiyaWoman. Link to original post given below:

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