When I first started writing this post, I titled it “Be Nice (Seriously).” How many times did we all hear this growing up? About a million. But how many times are people really genuinely thoughtful and nice now? Probably not as many.
That time I became a jet setter, the sweetest businessman ever started talking to me because we were sitting next to each other on a plane with propellers (don’t even get me started on the size of that plane…). I was on the verge of a serious panic attack, but we started talking and continued for the entire flight. I learned so much about his family, and he cheered me on as I told him about the wedding I was flying to work in Charleston. He kept my mind occupied, and I left feeling like I had just been presented with the biggest blessing from a complete stranger: calmness in the middle of my panic storm.
Further, the sweet businessman also proved that you never ever know the battle that someone else is fighting, nor did the veteran that I happened to talk to on Sunday. I happened to see a WWII veteran in Panera Bread wearing a baseball cap with the name of the ship where he served in the military. My Grandpa always wore a hat because he was so proud of serving our country in the Navy. I knew I wanted to say something to this man. So I put aside my fear, and I thanked him for his service. He replied with a simple, “my honor,” and I wanted to cry. This veteran had no idea that my Grandpa passed away last week and that even seeing this stranger wearing a hat meant everything to me. It was my honor to speak with him for a few quick moments.
I’m nice not only because I’ve been on the receiving end of some of the greatest moments made possible by the most genuine people (two of them are definitely mentioned here!), but also because it’s rare. It catches people off guard when I offer a smile or ask them a question. Being genuinely nice and thoughtful also makes me feel better about that moment or my day as a whole. It’s powerful, and in my opinion it will take you much further and make you (and the person on the receiving end) feel far better than you might think. So, be nice. It might just catch on.