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A lesson I learned from a stranger on the bus

April 29, 2020

This past winter, I was riding the bus consistently to a new job in a new city. I'm a nurse, and the transition was stressful, and the shifts were long and the mornings were dark, early, damp, and cold. There was a woman who would ride the same bus at the same time as me, and although we never exchanged a word, she has made a lasting impact on me, and I find myself thinking of her often. I wanted to share my experience with you ladies.

This woman was an average woman, likely in her 50s, with a rather plain face, plain clothes, and sometimes rather disheveled. She often sat across from me, with muddy rain boots, and hair slightly askew from wind and rain. Every other person on the bus was either sleeping, or on their phone, scowling, irritable, and cold.

But this woman wore a smile. Her expression was always soft, inviting, friendly, and she had a peaceful presence about her that was mesmerizing and downright fascinating. She was beautiful, warm, and kind. She never looked impatient, she never scowled down at a phone screen, she would not look away when I met her gaze but would smile sweetly at me, and I would smile back. We shared these rides together in silence, and I found myself smiling too. I would look out the window as the first traces of light came up through the treetops, and I would find stillness in an otherwise stressful commute.

Then, as weeks passed, I noticed a shift in my own behavior. I noticed myself smiling at work, among coworkers who were stressed, anxious, and exhausted. I noticed that I could make the people around me laugh, and smile too, and maybe even complain less. My patients seemed to smile more as well, despite their suffering and fear. I noticed that I would catch myself smiling while standing in line at the grocery store, or while doing the dishes, or weeding. I would smile in the car, when going on rides with my partner.

And as the world has changed through this pandemic, as people have begun social distancing, and fearing not only the virus but one another, smiles have seemed to disappear altogether, mask or no mask.

Whether you cover your face or not, smile more. Smile for yourself, smile with your eyes. It will change your life, it might change someone else's. It is feminine, it is gentle, it is kind. It seems we need more of that these days than ever.

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Post Information
Title A lesson I learned from a stranger on the bus
Author kittxxn
Upvotes 307
Comments 15
Date April 29, 2020 9:37 PM UTC (3 years ago)
Subreddit /r/RedPillWomen
Archive Link
Original Link

[–]teaandtalk5 Stars37 points38 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

:) That is a lovely reminder.

[–]mrradical4332 points33 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

my wife did this when she was 17 when she entered the classroom. oh my god it got my attention. told her i was attracted to her. the rest is history - still happily with her now 27 years later.

[–]ironsoul9913 points14 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

That is really lovely. I find myself forcing a "resting bitch face" because honestly, I got tired of people taking my nice-ness and manners for an invitation to flirt or straight up say something harassing. I wish it didn't have to be that way.

[–]kittxxn4 Stars[S] 9 points10 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I’ve found that a simple “I’m sorry but that makes me uncomfortable” is usually sufficient if someone is being rude, and if someone is flirting harmlessly, I won’t engage but I don’t like to be cruel either. I don’t want to discourage men unnecessarily, and politely know I’m unavailable. I also don’t make the habit of walking around not-great parts town by myself or going out to bars, where most of my more unpleasant run ins have occurred. Most men are genuinely charmed by a smile, but will respect boundaries if you maintain them.

[–][deleted]  (1 child) | Copy Link


[–]kittxxn4 Stars[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

It doesn’t have to be a big enthusiastic smile! I can’t help but smile when I think of the things I’m grateful for, think about my favorite moment of the day, or a memory from my childhood. And I’m sure I’m not constantly smiling, it’s just a much more conscious part of my day.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you smile at a stranger? They look away. But the impact it has made on me has been so positive, I don’t mind if some strangers think I’m odd.

[–]Dr__Noonian__Soong15 points16 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is beautiful! In my mind your story played out like a movie and the lady’s face was a monk/nun named Pema Chodron, who I adore. That lady got on that bus everyday as your teacher, and you were an excellent student!

[–]the_ranch_gal2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is such a great and beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!

[–]BonnieBelle2552 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I live in the south (US) where it’s the norm to smile at strangers. It’s been weird wearing a mask and not being able to smile at each other. Usually it’s a small, somewhat fake smile. But I know what you mean - there was a girl at my school who always gave the biggest genuine smile when making eye contact. It was so contagious. We weren’t even very close. I think about her sometimes :)

[–]topsul1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I love this. I find myself applying more eye makeup right now because when you wear a mask all you can see is your eyes. I also speak to people more in the grocery store. Because normally I would smile at them, but they can’t tell I’m doing that.

[–]cast-away-ramadi064 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Remember this lesson for the rest of your life. You can control how to feel and how you emotionally respond to things even while you can't always control what happens in your life. No one else can make you feel bad, you have to let them.

Too often I hear from friends and acquaintances that their partner doesn't make them happy. That's not their job, that's yours and you can control how you feel.

Congrats on this btw. I honestly think most people never figure this out - they let others or circumstances dictate how they feel.

[–]ZBawaKaul1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I love this.

[–]organicsunshine1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is the first advice in How to Win Friends and Influence People. A must read for everyone.

[–]FleetingWishEndorsed Contributor0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

I am awarding you a star for this.

[–]kittxxn4 Stars[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Thank you so much!

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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