There is a grumpy older man, a building manager I think, who walks around the blocks near my building in the morning. He has the deepest scowl I have ever seen: his chin juts out, the corners of his mouth droop, his eyebrows knit together. I usually slip by as small as possible.

Except this morning.

This morning, I decided to see if I could get a smile out of him. Just to see.

I saw him coming. I steeled myself for the scowl and dark weather. I lit up a smile, looked him in the eye and wished him “Good morning!” This grumpy older man’s mouth, chin, eyebrows, entire face and body softened. He smiled a sweet, shy, simple smile, softly replied “Good morning.”

And I realized I’d been too quick to judge. He’s not a grumpy older man at all, but perhaps a shy, gentle soul who habitually tries to protect himself through a scowl.

Learnings: First Appearances

July 8, 2008