Smile you are beautiful

Recently, I found myself crying while driving down a Montana highway commuting home from work. As a self-proclaimed planner, my life plan that I laid out for myself when I was ten was becoming unraveled.

I am a responsible person and a dedicated teacher. My professional life is successful, but my personal life has never seemed as stable. The confidence I carry into the classroom does not follow me into my personal life.

I’m twenty-nine, successful, trying my best to be a good person, but far from marriage, family, and that white picket fence that is now–as I get older–all I seem to want in life.

The lack of these is why I find myself alone and crying in my car one day after work. As I am driving down the highway, tears really come, and I am feeling the desolation of a Montana highway. I start to notice that a silver car has stayed next to mine in the passing lane instead of just passing me. Feeling self conscious, I try to stop the water works and look more put together. I glace over to the other lane and see an older man watching me inquisitively. As I feel his intense stare, I become more and more uncomfortable by the second.   I refuse to look back over at the man and begin to slow my car down in hopes he will drive away.

He seems to get the drift and pulls ahead and I begin to cry again.

About two miles later I drive through a small town and begin to slow down to stop at the stoplight ahead. I see the silver car is up ahead still in the passing lane and to my embarrassment I realize with the traffic flow that I will be stopped right next to him. By now our cars are parallel to each other.

I dry my tears and glance over at the car. Instead of seeing the man’s face, he is holding a yellow legal pad against his driver’s side window. On it is written in big block letters:


I am stunned and remain still as the man and his yellow legal pad filled with kindness pulls away as the light changes. Who does that? Who takes the time to change a person’s day, even when driving?

This man’s words touched my soul. His kindness changed my outlook. There are kind people in the world. I will never forget this man and his act of kindness. The few moments it took him to reach out to me had a lasting impression in my life.

You never know how your actions affect others, but a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

William Arthur Ward once said, “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” I extend my thanks to the man in the silver car for giving me hope. A smile goes a long way and can change a person’s outlook. Remember to smile. I know I do.

Lilly Olson