Remember when we were growing up and our parents told us to never talk to strangers? While the sentiment makes sense, you'd never make a new friend if you listened to it all the time.
Several weeks ago after I came off the stage from giving my Icarus Talk a young woman walked up to me.
"I loved what you had to say and I'm in the smile business so I had to meet you."
We hugged and I exchanged cards with the promise to follow-up with each other. After a game of email tag we set a time to get together for coffee.
A coffee date with no agenda, plan or goal is too rare of an occurrence these days.
Kelly is a strong, confident and driven young woman. She has already lived more than some people will in their entire life. Her passion for making the world a better place reconfirmed in my soul that I'm on the right path.
I couldn't help but smile as I sat down and she insisted on buying the coffee and I noticed she had my book open on her Kindle. I had brought a signed copy for her as a thank you for the kind words after my talk. I had no idea how big of a smile that would give her.
Yesterday we were strangers. We knew very little about each other and yet that hour together turned around a day that wasn't so good for me.
She is in the smile business because she made me happier than I was when I walked in.
Don't forget that while our gadgets allow us to make meaningful connections, the real magic happens when we can see each other. I love video conferencing as much as the next guy, but it'll never trump being able to sit down and feel someone's energy in person.
Plus, we still can't give virtual hugs. Not ones that can compete with the real thing.
Today as you go about your day, give a smile to a nearby stranger. You never know the amount of positive energy a simple smile may bring someone.