In Times Square, every weekday morning, without fail, there stands a shouting man. Amidst the neon lights, the jostling pedestrians, the lost tourists looking skyward, the honking of gridlock traffic, he is a constant. Plenty of other people wearing boards on their backs stand in the same area, pushing coupons and other sheets of literature at passersby, who routinely reject their offerings. His job is to hand out copies of AM New York, a free daily newspaper. But he does so much more than that.
Without fail, with each new day of work, this gentleman yells at those who swarm around him. And a good percentage of them smile as a result.
"Tackle the day! Smile! Make the best of your day at work!," he shouts at commuters and vacationers alike. "Things are good! Go ahead, smile! And have a wonderful day as you go on your way!"
And he means it. There isn't an ounce of sarcasm or a smidgen of weariness--only genuine enthusiasm for spreading cheer and good wishes to those he encounters every day.
Often times those pushing papers on pedestrians can be pushy. Typically, they are just indifferent. But this man is intent on handing out good cheer along with the newspaper he hawks, and best of all it works.
I stopped for a few minutes today before heading down into the station to watch the effect this gentleman has on rushing commuters. And it was exhilerating. Those absorbed in their journey or scowling into a paper cup of coffee brighten, if only for a moment. They may not break out into a laugh or stop to talk with the wisher of "good day," but many who pass him are visibly lifted by his words of kindness and encouragement.
What can you do today to brighten the lives of those around you?
[Photo by Carl MiKoy]