Throughout the years of writing this column, I have encouraged you to find simple ways to make someone’s day a little brighter.
It can be simply pushing in the chair when you walk out of a restaurant or volunteering at a local school. With so many restrictions in place, many things I have suggested are not feasible at this time.
One very simple thing I know many of you do is to smile at people even if I do not interact with them. That is impossible with a mask on.
It is also hard to recognize and greet people you know when we are all wearing a mask. Sometimes there is an awkward silence and two people staring at each other trying to figure out each other’s identity. Then, one person speaks, and we all recognize the voice.
It is always a good laugh and usually follows by some story about disliking masks. At least we are all in this together!
Another struggle with trying to be friendly during the COVID outbreak is holding the door open for the person entering the store behind me. I know many of us were taught this when we were younger.
I have noticed that most businesses I frequent have automated doors, so no one must touch the door handle. Some doors, like the post office, prop the doors open so germs are not spread through patrons.
Like most things in 2020, we are going to have to be creative and find another way to do what we have always done. Instead of simply smiling at people I pass in a parking lot or aisle, I try to speak to everyone. A simple “Good Morning” is usually enough to acknowledge the person and make their day brighter.
In March, the KOB board and volunteers planted 28 azaleas, eight hollies and six Jessamine Vines the breezeway area of downtown Opelika. I still water these plants three times per week. I have found standing on the sidewalk with a water hose is a great way to start a conversation with people passing by.
I get a lot of compliments on the plants, but I have also given out a lot of directions, suggestions for restaurants, planting advice and met some downtown residents. We need stimulating conversation, social interaction and laughter.
Early in the pandemic, the kids and I wrote notes to the families who sit around us at church. We are Baptist so we have been sitting in the same pew for years and so has everyone around us!
My goal this week is to revive the note writing. It was a great opportunity for the kids to work on their handwriting and letter layout all while brightening someone’s day.
Let’s all be thinking of creative ways we can show kindness during this time.
Tipi Colley Miller is the director of Keep Opelika Beautiful Inc. and writes a weekly column. Contact her at email@example.com.
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