Nearly every morning as I walk through the skyway in the early morning hours to my office, I pass a security guard sitting quietly in his chair. He’s been a fixture in the skyway for many years and has had the same demeanor throughout that time. He is much shorter and smaller than me, and I’ve long since thought that I’d have to save us both if the situation ever arose. He never speaks first, but I always say good morning with a smile as I pass him. He usually grunts good morning back, barely audibly. Sometimes there’s no response. I’ve never seen him smile.
For some reason this morning, I can’t stop thinking about him. His daily actions indicate that life has beaten him down, and maybe it has. Maybe he’s clinically depressed. Maybe he’s not a morning person. Maybe he doesn’t like people. Maybe his job bores him. Maybe that’s just who he is. Whatever the reason, I feel sorry for him.
It made me think of my own greetings to co-workers and others I see throughout the day. How we greet others conveys a lot and can set the tone for how our day goes. If we say it like we mean it, our day is already starting on a positive note. If we automatically say it with little emotion, that might indicate to others that we’re having a lousy day already or we’re just indifferent. There are times when I’ve greeted someone good morning, and their first response is a sigh followed by “is it time to leave yet?” Or worse yet, occasionally someone will say “what’s so good about it?” Imagine how that person’s day is going to go. And truthfully it feels a bit deflating. Others respond with a hearty good morning back and it seems as if their day is off to a great start.
Life is full of ups and downs and work is not always fun and games either. But life is also wonderful and full of choices. We choose if we’re going to make the best of a situation or not. We choose how we want to portray ourselves. We choose to uplift others or not. We choose to uplift ourselves or not. We choose how we want our day to go. Even if I’m grumpy at times, I can choose to put that aside and not subject others to it. I’m not suggesting we need to be pollyannas, but let’s show some emotion for pete’s sake.
I’m going go keep greeting the security guard warmly. I’m going to surprise him one day with a cup of coffee. And some day, somehow, I hope I see at least a hint of a smile from him.
I’m also going to keep being me and say good morning like I mean it…because I do.