by CODY DRAPER, Staff Writer
The other day, I had a brief encounter that got me thinking. I was killing time between classes in a quiet nook on campus, alternating between goofing off on my laptop and reading a book. While I was staring at my computer screen, the girl sitting next to me got my attention. She had to use the bathroom and asked if I could watch her things while she was gone. I have done this a few times over the years; when your stuff is spread out all over the place, and you will only be gone for a moment, it is easier to use the buddy system than to take everything with you. I promised not to steal her stuff, and she went off to the bathroom. She returned a couple minutes later and finding her stuff untouched, thanked me. Later, while I was still enjoying my downtime, she packed up her gear and left. On her way out, she told me to have a nice day. Slightly surprised, I wished her the same.
As I thought back on it, I realized that I found her farewell unusual. In my experience, pleasantries such as “have a nice day” are most often used as an offhand way to say goodbye. Your friend is leaving or the cashier hands you your drink, and they tell you to have a nice day. If you are paying attention, you wish them the same. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between genuine well-wishes and automatic, mindless responses, even when you know the person.
Perhaps that is why I was so taken aback by her polite farewell. We didn’t know each other, and the situation did not demand that she say goodbye. Combined with her frank and humorous tone, it made the quick send-off feel sincere. Pondering her parting improved my mood and made me wish I had been a bit more thoughtful in my goodbye. The situation helped remind me how a few kind words can really brighten up your day.
Life can be difficult sometimes, but the right word at the right time can make all the difference, or at least turn a bad day into a meh one. Even when it is not so bad, who wouldn’t like to hear some pleasant words? In my never-ending effort of self-improvement, I’ve decided that I should try to spread more sincere words of cheer. Until I become bold enough to regularly do it myself, I will ask all the social butterflies out there to use their powers for good. Go out of your way to tell someone to have a nice day, and do it like you mean it! It might just make the world a tiny bit better, one small compliment at a time.