The other day, I stopped my car at an intersection, seeing another car approaching on my left. She stopped too. We looked at each other and then I noticed the ‘Stop’ sign pointed in her direction. I smiled and was just about to put my foot on the accelerator when she sounded her horn and gave me ‘the finger!’ Luckily, I was in a good mood so I chuckled and drove on. Waving apologetically as I passed.
I couldn’t help but think, if I we knew each other, her reaction would have been very different. We would probably have laughed together about the misunderstanding and both driven away smiling.
In stark contrast, walking through the city the other day, a stranger walked over, smiled and said ‘you’re a good mum.’ What a lift for a mum, who, just the day before, had been diffusing a tantrum at Coles. It made my day.
How about, if just for a day, we all treated each other, including strangers, as if we were all best friends?
Like the guy who takes your car park at the shopping centre – pretend you’re in the church car park – would you respond differently there?
It’s easy to assume that someone’s intentions are self-centred or aggressive if you don’t know them, isn’t it?
Every day this week, assume the best of people, instead of the worst and commit random acts of kindness and encouragement. Pay for the coffee of the guy in the queue behind you, tell someone they have a nice smile, take a meal over to your neighbour who has the flu, write an anonymous note that just says ‘you are loved’ and pop it in a stranger’s mailbox. Most importantly, every night, answer this question: ‘Did I make someone smile today?’
If we all treated each other like friends, rather than strangers, what a powerful movement for change we could create.