There was a new sidewalk being built on my way to work. That meant sign holders holding up STOP and SLOW signs when I was trying to get to work on time. The first time I discovered this, I was annoyed. I had not taken road work into account and there was a chance of me being late. I am that person who likes to arrive places at least 10 minutes early. On one such day, after waiting for the sign holder to change sign from STOP to SLOW, I inched my car forward to cross the area of road work cautiously. As I approached the sign holder, my grim face cracked a smile. The holder of the sign was a young man who enthusiastictically waved at each car that passed by. His face was animated, hopeful even that a fellow human would connect with him and wave back in reply. His happiness, for that is exactly what it looked like, was infectious and I found myself waving back cheerfully. The next day he was there and the following day as well with same infectious exuberance. I looked forward to the road block and his wave. One day Sahana was driving me to work. As the road work area got closer, I got ready for my daily moment of connection. And Sahana said, “I wonder if my friend is going to be here.”
It turns out, she was equally enamored by this young man’s enthusiasm to spread happiness by waving enthusiastically as he allowed cars to pass by. We both then exclaimed how we loved this little moment and how this simple gesture of a smile and a wave brightens our day. We both agreed we look forward to this inconvenience in our commute and isn’t that strange?
The side walk is complete now and our friend is not there anymore to hold up his sign. I don’t account for the small delay in my commute any more but I do miss the bright smile of my young friend as he waved to me from the other side of the road. I hope he is working on another project, spreading joy to another group of people. I also hope people are smiling back at him, making connections, seeing. I hope they are allowing him to be the bright spot in their days.