I was on my way to Aldi, my weekly journey to replenish the pantry in our household. I was feeling so good. On the drive, I was reflecting on a program I had watched where one good turn spurred another one. So I determined THIS day, I was going to smile and greet every single person I met. I wanted to see how many "frowns I might turn upside down" and wondered how many would greet me in return.
I parked the car, and walked to the front of the store where they had their carts corralled. It was the first test. I smiled and greeted an elderly woman, "Good afternoon, lovely day isn't it." She answered, "afternoon to you" but no accompanying smiles. I greeted a young mom with little ones in the cart. She blew her hair out of her eyes as she smiled and answered by greeting, "Hey".
I was pulling my cart toward the door when another couple walked up to the carts. The woman was wearing a simple house dress with sensible shoes. She could have used a stronger bra, but at least at her age she was wearing one. Her graying hair curled around her face and there was a twinkle in her eyes as I greeted her with a smile. It was her husband who took me aback. I smiled what I hoped was my most friendly smile and greeted him with a "hello, good day." I was rather surprised to see his eyebrows lower and a frown grow on his face. His grey bristled face was not encouraging me, so I scurried down the aisle.
I mosied down the aisle picking up my selections, making sure I still greeted the store employees and anyone else that came down my path. I stopped at the dairy case to compare the various prices with my price book and was intent on my chore. I stepped backward, and immediately felt that something wasn't right. I turned my head to see the now glowering frown of the elder man that moments before had rebuffed my friendly effort to spread smiles. I apologized for stepping on his foot and moved down the aisle. I saw him say something to his wife, and she looked at me as well. "Oh dear," I thought. "I really offended him."
I continued around the store and I'm pleased to report that other than the gruff older man in the faded denim overalls, everyone I greeted smiled or at least spoke. In the freezer aisle, I came across the couple again and felt their eyes on me as I reached into the freezer for the skinless chicken breasts. I walked on up to the front of the store to get in line. I usually have a wait of more than a few moments before being able getting checked out. It was standing in the line that I felt that tap on my shoulder along with an "excuse me Miss". I turned to find the gray haired woman at my side, her over-all covered husband in another aisle trying valiantly to not watch.
I looked at her and asked if there was something she needed. She shook her head and asked "I's juss wantin' ta know. Were's ya flirtin' with my man? The old geezer says you keep smiling at 'em and he's convinced that yer flirtin with a married man."
I bit away the chuckle that wanted to bubble out and I assured her that I had not intended to do any flirting. I explained about my desire to see if I could spread smiles around by smiling first at people. I wanted to see if smiles were really contagious.
"Oh, kind of like a 'speriment?" I nodded that was exactly what I was doing. She smiled and accepted my explanation and hoped my 'speriment was better than her Harold was showing.
She walked over to her husband and beaned him up side the back of his head, "Harold, ya old fool. That girl wasn't flirtin'. She was doin' an 'speriment and yer grouchy old self ruined it. Now she can't say that everyone smiles when they sees a smile!"
I didn't catch her name, but I would have to tell Harold's wife that it's okay. The 'speriment might have been "ruined" but once I got to the van and locked inside, I had quite the belly laugh over Harold and his fear of strange flirtatious women.