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Kindness Korner

A Friendly Greeting at Costco

A Friendly Greeting at Costco

The Costco super-store I visit is always very crowded, with people I do not know. Only about once in six months do I meet someone I recognize. Not only that, there is no eye-contact or greeting offered by any of the shoppers. They are all intent on their purchases, or managing their families. Most seem unaware of those around them, even those who might need to push their carts around them.

So it was startling a few nights ago when someone said “hello” to me. The middle aged woman smiled, and I looked at her with a puzzled look. She looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place her. “Chicago avenue?” I questioned. “No, Fantastic Sam’s. Haircut,” she said in her imperfect English. “Oh, yes” I responded realizing and recognizing her as one of the women who cut my hair. “Great to see you” I said with a big smile, and we went our separate ways.

Her greeting lifted my spirits enormously. I went on with my shopping feeling renewed, buoyant, blessed. It is amazing. Here was a woman I scarcely know, Hispanic, low-waged, a hardworker with whom I have virtually no relationship. And her greeting was like a shot of Adrenaline. I felt joy from her friendliness.

The power of a greeting can hardly be over- rated. Never is a simple “hello” wasted or worthless. Every simple “hello” is a blessing, a gift, a vitamin for the soul of the recipient—even if he doesn’t turn and return the words.

A man named Joe Kita decided to say “hello” to everyone he met for a period of one month. He reported that when the time was over he felt lighter, more connected, and had a better sense of well-being. But he recommends setting a lower number of greetings per day. Lest you burn out or get bored. At the same time he is convinced it is a way of making the world a better place.
St. Paul said “Greet each other with a holy kiss….” Well, we better not go that far today, but St. Paul certainly is underscoring the value of greeting when he says that.
“Hello” is possible for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your blog messages and your online courses (I studied them about one and a half years ago.) You're the pastor who's taught and encouraged me a lot on care and kindness. I owe you a big thank-you all these times.

    Your blog reminds me of a small friendly smile to stranger can be a way to witness and serve Christ. It's hard to do this in a very bad day. But I'll try to pray to ask God for the heart and the strength to do that. Thank you, pastor Jim Kok!