Have a Great Day!

There is a high school student who lives in our building and every time I see him in the elevator he is happy. He always says, “Hello” and when he leaves he tells all of us to have a great day.

I live in a friendly apartment building in New York City, but most conversations in the elevator are between neighbors who already know one another. Most of the passengers are not expecting a stranger to tell them to have a great day.

The other day when this boy left with his usual greeting, I told him to have a great day too. As the doors closed, some of the people in the elevator were still trying to decide if they should say something to him. They quickly gained confidence and by the time I exited the elevator we were all wishing one other a good day.

The young boy doesn’t have any idea how many people he has influenced with his cheerful personality. It is amazing what one person can do.

Today is Saturday and in our building a lot of us are cooking. The halls are filled with the aroma of pancakes and bacon. Dinner time is also interesting in our building because there are so many different types of food our neighbors like to cook. I like to bake so I often contribute to this potpourri of fragrances with the scent of chocolate brownies, lemon bars or fresh bread baking in the oven.

One evening, much later than the usual dinner hour, a strong odor started drifting into our apartment. “What is that awful smell?” my daughter asked as she wandered out of bed. Someone was cooking fish, but this was not fresh fish, this fish was spoiled. The rotten odor was nauseating. I was surprised how quickly the disgusting odor permeated our apartment. It was the middle of winter, but we quickly began to open the windows to get some fresh air.

There are other offensive odors that occasionally drift into our apartment like cigarette smoke and burnt toast. The neighbors probably do not even realize how much these odors negatively affect others in the building. Sometimes you can make a bad impression and you don’t even realize it.

Do you influence others in a good way, like the boy in the elevator, or are you influencing them in a bad way, like the odor of rotten fish?

Are you friendly and greet people in a way that makes them want to spend more time with you, or are they secretly counting the minutes until you leave so they will not be so miserable?

You never know how far your influence will go. The effect you have upon others can last for a very long time. You can control whether that influence is a good or bad experience. Concentrate on making it good. Make time for chocolate.