Every morning I walk past the Plaza Hotel on my way into work. At the entrance stands a congenial older doorman, who always has a smile on his face no matter the weather conditions - I've seen him smile while sidways sleet hit the side of his ruddy red cheeks. He remembers the regulars who pass by and nods his hat towards them, or says good morning, or remarks on the weather. Today I walked past and smiled up at him on the top of the stairs and he said, "Good morning, you look lovely today! I like the purple!" (I'm wearing purple tights.)
I continued walking with a smile on my face. Because that's a great way to start the day: with a compliment, and a smile. On some days I remember this and pass it on. I'll tell a girl on the subway I like her purse or her coat, or whatever it is that I do genuinely like. I've said "great book" in passing to somebody reading a book I like. And these types of small comments always come back with a smile.
Sometimes I can be so grumpy on the train rides in - just this morning I was annoyed by the loud mouth-smacking of a gum-chewer who sidled up next to me while I was trying to read (and concentrate on) Anna Karenina. How rude, I thought. And I probably scowled for most of the ride as the taped voice-over conducter repeatedly announced, "We are stopped because of train traffic, please be patient..." I probably scowled and definitely grumbled about the lousy start to a day.
As soon as I got off that train, and felt the wind on my face and saw the sprinkles of snow cling to my coat and hair, and I looked up at the cheerful doorman, it changed. I walked the block and half to work with a smile, and the positivity of one small moment really can change a day. At least the beginning of one.