You, Too, Can Make Someone’s Day

Last week I was driving to a friend’s house for a meeting to discuss our businesses. It was a hot summer day and I was enjoying having the sunroof open and my tunes cranked. Because I had left the house early, I decided to take the scenic route to my friend’s place, which included long windy streets with a cozy canopy of oak trees. The fresh summer air, the sunshine, and the trees carried me on this beautiful afternoon.

My quiet and leisurely drive quickly changed as I was suddenly faced with a “Road Construction Next Two Miles” sign. It became bumpy and noisy and dusty…certainly not conducive to the peaceful drive I was planning on. But that was okay. The summer sun was smiling down on me, and I was grateful to be self-employed with a flexible schedule and wearing shorts and a concert t-shirt to my meeting.

The small line of cars on the road came to a halt, as a worker stepped onto the road and held up a sign, motioning for all of us to slow down. The part of the two-sided sign that said “SLOW” was facing our direction. A few cars made it past her, and then when it came to me, the worker held up her hand and swiveled the sign around so that “STOP” was the instruction meant for me.

Noticing their efforts

So I stopped at the point where she directed me and was observing all the workers doing their jobs. There was so much going on! They were exerting so much effort in the intense heat to make the roads nicer for everyone. They were using their muscles, sweating, and obviously working hard.

“They‘re doing this for me,” I thought. Occasionally in the past, I had been guilty of seeing the road construction work as an inconvenience or as an obstacle in getting me to my destination on-time.

The woman with the tall hand-held sign was stationed in the middle of the road, right next to my car on the driver’s side. She had a long ponytail and a weathered face; you could tell that she had already endured a lot of sun this season. She was draped in the usual bright yellow vest to indicate that she was a part of the crew. I rolled down my window (which I had previously closed to keep out the dust cloud) and felt compelled to make a connection with her.

The gift

With my elbow resting on the open window frame, I leaned my head out and said “I sure appreciate the important work you do.”

You would have thought that I gave her a gift wrapped in gold. The woman’s stoic, emotionless face—exhausted from a day’s work—completely lit up. Every sun drenched wrinkle came to life as she smiled from ear to ear, showing all her teeth.

It was in her face that I realized the impact we each have in helping others feel and experience joy.

“Ma’am, I’ve been a flagger for 24 years and no one has ever told me they appreciated my work.” She continued, “The only thing I hear from people is that I’m in their way, or they’re late, or the road is a mess. And they holler at me, too. I’m just trying to do my job, ya know.”

I smiled and told her that I knew she was there to make life better for me and for the rest of us. I wanted her to feel heard and acknowledged. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath in as she smiled, as if to soak in all the glory of feeling appreciated.

Our brief interaction was over just as it was time for her to turn her sign back around to the “SLOW” side. This was my cue to move along. As I drove off, she said, “You have yourself a wonderful day now.” And you know what? I did.

It’s pretty cool to think about how just a few words or a gesture or a smile just might make someone’s day. Including your own.

Whose day will you make today?

You might also like: A Sure-Fire Way To Increase Your Joy.

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12 Responses to “You, Too, Can Make Someone’s Day”

  • Liv says:

    So cool! That made my heart skip a beat to think of how monumental that moment was for the "flagger" -she will never forget your kind words. This reminds me…last year, I visited a V.A. hospital w/ some friends and when we thanked one of the vets for putting his life on the line in Vietnam, he got teary and said no one had EVER thanked him. A small thank you can make a huge difference. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Bill says:

    That's my girl…spreading joy everywhere she goes!! :)

  • Kristine says:

    thanks for the "feel-good" story Michelle…made my day! :-)

  • Janice Kern says:

    This reminds me of a time when I was stopped by a police officer for running a stop sign. As soon as he came to my window I said "thanks for stopping me, I really need a wake-up call to slow it down". Like the flagger, it appeared this was a first for the officer.

    Love the Vietnam Vet story. I LOVE veterans. They have amazing stories. When I quit working, the patients I missed the most were the vets and their stories.

  • Connie says:

    Brought me to tears my friend….you are such a blessing to be around.

  • All of your comments affirm for me the power in sharing these stories! Thank you for rallying me to continue my writing. Every comment means so much to me!

  • Sharon says:

    ………….you are just so awesome, girl……keep up the wonderful work! xoxo Sharon

  • Michele Dettloff says:

    I love this story. It's a great reminder for me of how little effort it takes to brighten someone's day…which reminds me of a quote from Mother Teresa, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” Keep up the good work, Michelle. You not only brightened the flagger's day, but you've inspired at least one other person (me!) now to say a kind word to others.

  • I believe part of why we are here on earth is to inspire and affirm each other. And so my heart is full knowing that this blog is one of those places to do just that! Thank you, everyone. :)

  • […] You Too Can make Someone’s Day is another post I enjoyed by Michelle Stimpson.  She reminds us to slow down and take  the time to help others feel better about themselves, their lives, and their contribution to others. […]

  • Make My Day says:

    […] You, Too, Can Make Someone’s Day […]

  • Phil Bolsta says:

    That’s wonderful, Michelle, and it’s a perfect example of how to make someone’s day with just a few simple words. Bravo!

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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