The Bird and the Beauty of a Smile

I was out in the car with Henrik last week mid afternoon.  We had come to a T in the road and were at a stop sign waiting to turn left (west).  The traffic was pretty heavy coming from the left because of construction.  I had been waiting for a while and then I saw a car approaching from the left with their right turn signal on, which indicated that they were going to turn onto the street where I was waiting.  There was no traffic coming from the right (heading westbound) so I pulled out as the turning car made their right hand turn.  I gave it a little gas to make sure I cleared the lane of traffic before the lineup was able to head eastbound after the turner vacated the lane.

As I entered the lane heading westbound I discovered that it was no longer an empty lane.  The driver behind the turning car decided not to wait and pulled out into the oncoming (westbound side heading eastbound) lane, which was where I was pulling.  I quickly hit the brakes and our car lurched forward.  The other car swerved around me and continued heading the wrong way down the street.  As the zigzagging driver careened around the front of my car he skillfully removed one hand from the steering wheel and flipped me off.  It has been a solid decade, maybe two, since I have been flipped off.  I started laughing out loud.

Later in the day Henrik and I were in the car again.  We were on a detour due to another area of road construction.  I was approaching a four way stop where I planned to turn left.  There was a car approaching the intersection on my left just before me so I stopped and waited my turn.  There were no other cars at the intersection.  As the car on the left began to pull in front of me a cyclist approached the intersection also from the left.  The intersection was at the peak of a decent hill.  As the rider hit the crest at the edge of the intersection, he stopped in a track stand.  I had the right of way and he was waiting for me to go (I would like to acknowledge and thank all cyclists who stop, or at least slow, at stop signs—it happens too rarely here).

I immediately waved him on.  He deserved to be given the right of way.  He had just climbed a multi-block hill and he had fully intended to wait his turn.  As I raised my hand to wave him on, the cyclist’s face broke out in the most amazing smile.  I smiled back and prepared to make my left turn.  As the cyclist crossed in front of our car he caught my eye again and he was still beaming at me.  I only waited a few extra seconds for the cyclist to cross the intersection, but the beauty of his smile was worth it.

It is so easy to make someone’s day.  Can you make someone smile today?