A Dollar for Your Troubles

02.03.2011

So I was sitting in the Hangar yesterday just killing time between meetings. I had checked my e-mail and Facebook page and was reading the newest edition of the Flyer News. And then something out of the ordinary happened. A guy I had never met came up to me, tossed a crumpled dollar bill on the table, and said “I think you dropped this.” And then he left before I could tell him it wasn’t mine. I had been having a stressful day, actually with the exception of the two previous days (which were snow/ice days) I had been having a stressful two weeks, but during this encounter I forgot about all of that.

This got me thinking. Was the dollar bill on the ground next to me, making it seem to the passerby that it belonged to me and had jumped out of my pocket? Was yesterday one of those “random act of kindness” days that I wasn’t aware of? Was he just trying to be a good citizen all on his own? I guess I’ll never know for sure.

But clearly this little act struck a chord in me since I’m still thinking about it. That small of a gesture actually did make my day a little brighter and it made me think about how simple it really is to make an impact. Okay, all clichés and cheesiness aside, you have to admit it’s true. Also yesterday I happened to run into my friend Sarah and she said that I was the first person that morning that was smiling. Everyone else was in the day-after-snow-day-mood since we actually had classes. I hadn’t even realized I was smiling, but apparently I was. Actually, I thought that my smile was in response to her smile, but again I can’t be sure.

I guess the point is that something as small as smiling at someone or returning a dollar bill can really change another personÂ’s mood and perspective. So, my advice isnÂ’t to go give 10 people a dollar and pretend they dropped it. But perhaps give them a smile instead, anything to show them that you care. After all, itÂ’s free and it benefits you too. Smiling releases serotonin, the happy chemical, in your brain. So, in attempt to increase someone elseÂ’s happiness, you inevitably increase your own. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Smile more, spread the joy, and you just never know who will return something you never knew youÂ’d lost. Whatever that may be.