The other night, I went to Walmart to buy some snacks (as college students tend to do when they should be doing their homework). As I walked up to the register to pay for my items, I did something out of habit. I asked the cashier how she was doing. She told me she was good, and then she paused. She looked at me and said, “You know, I’ve been working here all night, and you’re the first person to ask me how I’m doing.”
Wow. What a sad thought. This nice woman had been interacting with people all night, providing a service for them, and not one of them had bothered to simply ask, “How are you?” I don’t know about you, but that really struck me. It broke my heart a little bit. Maybe a little more than a little bit.
Sometimes, all I need is just to know that someone out there somewhere cares about me. When I’m feeling sad and alone, all I want is for someone to look me in the eye and tell me I mean something to them. That they notice me. That they care about what I’m feeling and about my well-being.
I don’t think we get that enough. That sense of just feeling acknowledged. Noticed. Cared about. Important. I think we all yearn for that at times, but we just don’t get it enough. We live in a society that oftentimes puts us down and makes us feel like nothing. Like we’re just a number, or less than a number. But we don’t have to feel that way. You don’t have to feel that way.
You are important. You are noticed. You are loved. And if no one’s told you that in a while, I am sincerely sorry. But I’m telling you now because it’s true.
This world needs some encouragement. There are people all around you every day who are struggling. Some of them may feel worthless, broken, even unloved. You may find yourself there right now. We all need some encouragement from time to time. But the good news is that there’s plenty to go around. All we have to do is share it.
What if we took one second out of our busy days to put down the to-do lists and the homework and the work projects and whatever else and just connect with one person around us? What if you took the time to look someone in the eye today and ask, “How are you doing?” and really mean it? Or even just smile at a stranger on the street? Do you have any idea what kind of difference you could make in a person’s life if you just took one second to show someone that they matter?
It really is the little things that often mean the most. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a crummy day turned completely around by a simple smile from a stranger I passed on the street. Or how many times I’ve felt really alone until someone came to me and sincerely asked me how I was doing. It didn’t cost them much time. It really wasn’t a big deal. But it meant the world to me. It showed me that I was important to someone, and that was enough.
Did I change that cashier’s life by asking her how she was doing? Probably not. But did I give her a little boost that helped get her through the rest of her shift? I like to think so. Little things can go a long way if they’re done in love. Give someone some encouragement today. Do one little thing for someone else. You never know how big an effect one little thing may have.