If You Just Smile

Before I came to San Diego for school, I visited with my family to see the campus and get oriented and stuff. We have family friends here, so I was hanging out with my friend when something really inspiring happened; a story I want to share.

We were stopped at a red light and there was this guy on the divider on the opposite side of the road with a cardboard sign. He looked scruffy, and there was a bag on the ground by him. So naturally, I thought he must be homeless. I couldn't see what the sign said because he was waving it at cars on the other side of the road. The fact that he was going up to each car in the left turn lane only made me more suspicious that he was just some drunkard. I felt bad, but I've been to India so many times, that generally, I tend to not have a lot of respect for beggars. So, we're waiting at the light, and the whole time I'm trying to figure out what this homeless man has on his sign. There were some pretty prejudiced thoughts and some equally guilty thoughts racing through my head, but in the end I thought I had to be right about this guy. The light turned green and we started going just as the man turned around to flash the sign at us: SMILE.

Obviously, I felt like a total asshole after that, but it was the perfect lesson in not judging. And it continues to remind me, as I think about it occasionally, that it is so important to show the same amount of compassion and respect to everybody. It's important to be polite and not judge someone for their actions, beliefs, or looks and I think, sometimes, in the whirlwind of life and stress, we lose that. So this is my reminder.


  1. I definitely would have smiled after seeing that sign :)
    Thanks for the reminder ... I could definitely smile a lot more in my own life as well. I'm trying to work on that :)


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