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The power of a smile and a kind word

In the past, I have written about how I enjoy meeting and talking to Filipinos. As you walk through a mall, many of the sales people will say “Hello Ma’am/Sir.” Most people just walk by, but being an American, when people say hello, I stop to say hello in return.  Also at times when I am sitting and people watching, if someone looks to me and our eyes meet, I will nod and smile and most will smile in return.

At most businesses there are security guards at the doors. I usually will look to the guard and say hello and ask them how they are doing or say kumasta. I then stop and wait for their answer. Since we go to a local mall often, I have probably met most of the guards. Most of them will smile when they see me coming and we always exchange pleasantries. Also they will pat down the back of men entering the malls and look in carry bags for weapons. I usually carry a sling bag with a small laptop in it. From all my times seeing these guards, rarely do they make me open the bag and I get just a pat on the back.

There are others in the mall I have met. At one of the coffee shops, there is a guy that has a well trimmed thin beard. Most Filipinos do not have much or any facial hair and seeing such a stylish beard I once told him while having coffee how I admired his beard. Now if I walk by, he usually smiles and says hello.

There are ladies at the mall information desk where we get our shopping points that will always smile and say hello as I pass or if they pass me while there on break. If I am outside having a cigarette, there are many times some clerk going or returning from a break will see me, wave or walk over to say hello.

A few days ago I was at a coffee shop and I guy I recognized, but could not remember from where came up to me. He reminded me he worked at the firm I was at. When I started, he was on leave studying and taking his licensing boards. When he came back, he only worked about a week and then left to take a job in another city. Well, he sat down, offered to buy me a cup of coffee, offered to share some of the little cakes he bought. Then his wife came along and joined us. We sat for a while talking about how each other’s lives have been. We then exchanged cell numbers and then they left.

Also there are times, too many to mention when people come up to say hello and from all the people I have met and the time I have lived here, I will recognize but cannot remember names or from where.

The point of all this is how I enjoy meeting people and how a friendly smile, a kind word can make you more accepted an how many Filipinos enjoy saying hello. With their hospitality, they always want to share their friendship and food.

When we go to the mall, one of the places we often have lunch is Pizza Hut. We almost always order the same thing.  Now, we only eat there once a week at the most. With all the customers that eat there, most of the wait staff will come up with a smile and say “the usual?”

Also it amazes me, other places we go, even as infrequently as once a month, we will walk in and be greeted by our names and a smile. There was one waiter at a restaurant that remembered my special way to order one of their items. The amazing thing with him was, I had that on one of my visits and when I returned 6 months later, he remembered and asked if I wanted that item with my special changes.

To me, this is one of the reasons I enjoy living here and meeting people. Instead of being seen as an arrogant foreigner, you are looked at as someone they enjoy seeing.

8 Responses to “The power of a smile and a kind word”

  1. julie says:


    having a good heart ang being friendly at all times, we can gain many friends in every place we go.

    • Bruce says:

      As I find here, when someone looks towards me and we make eye contact, I will smile and say hello. Sometimes it is in passing and I feel good and I think the other feels good when you smile to each other. At times they will stop and say hello. A kind word and a smile does not cost anything and a nice thing to give to another person.

  2. Riza says:

    I’m not good at remembering names actually. Just two weeks ago, a former colleague of mine in the call center tapped me on the shoulder and gave me a hug and was really surprised and happy to see me (he was shopping for clothes), it was a little embarrassing because I couldn’t remember his name (sorry, hehe) but he just kept on telling me stories and asking me how I was, some days before that, a former english co-teacher of mine and I bumped to each other at the same mall and I really couldn’t remember her name so she introduced herself to me (pathetic of me), and she was so excited and told me how they missed me teaching. My hunny would always tell me, everywhere I go, people know me as Mommy Riza, and it’s good, because I feel nice being remembered. I just envy them to have a good memories of names. 😛

    • Bruce says:

      I am similar to you, I remember faces but have a hard time remembering names. At times here someone will come up to me and say hi. Since I have met so many people in such a short time, I will remember the face, not not the name and at times I cannot remember where we met either. With names, some here I cannot even pronounce with the right sounds.
      A funny story, when I was about 21, there was a resto/bar I would go each weekend. One night a group of ladies I knew brought a friend. I knew that I knew her sometime in the past. We listed every bar we would visit, places we worked, and finally we figured out we had met when we were about 12-13 years old in summer camp. I told her she had not changed much and she was upset. I explained she was still pretty.

      • Riza says:

        haha, that was funny. you see, women especially when they’re in their teens would have imperfections, and telling us that we hadn’t change, unless we view ourselves differently, could mean disaster for the guys lol.

  3. prodigalson35 says:

    to smile is good and best of all, it is free. cheers!

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