November. The obligatory month of giving thanks. But it’s not so trite, really. If all months were like November, we would take fewer people and fewer things in our lives for granted. It’s easy, in the hub-bub of every day life, to get so busy that we forget all of the wonderful people and experiences with which our lives are filled.

Today is the first day of 30 Days & 30 Tiny Ways. Each day in November I’m suggesting tiny things I can do (and you can too!) to say thank you and to show our gratitude to the people we love and the world around us.

Today is Day #1 of 30 Days & 30 Tiny Ways.

TODAY: Smile at a stranger. Give a kind word to a Grumpy Gus.

Twice in the past two days I made an effort to smile at two service people who were downright rude to me when delivering their services. I was paying them for their work. And, yet, they acted as if I was completely inconveniencing them. They were obviously having a bad day.

Instead of getting angry right back at them (“How DARE they treat me, their customer, in such a distasteful manner?!?”), I stopped to wonder if a smile and a kind word could change their attitudes. I flashed my pearly whites and complimented them on their work and told each of them how much I appreciated what they do.

It worked! I had fun watching their demeanor change slowly from surprise (“Wait. I’m being rude to her. Why is she being nice to me?”) to genuine happiness. Both of these people even smiled back at me. How cool that a smile from a stranger can give blatantly grumpy people the ability to change their outlook.

The orignal image was adapted for this post thanks to a Creative Commons License.