This story begins in a nail salon. No, it isn’t about the infections you can potentially contract by going to a nail salon after shaving your legs. Instead, I would like to share how a routine trip to the salon, turned into something so beautiful, I left with chills covering my prickly legs.
Any person who has ever experienced a great nail salon can tell you the vibe of such a place. Relaxing music, waterfall white noise, and a mostly female environment; all of whom are all zoned out from reality.
Now picture this: An older gentleman with a cane hobbles in and starts barking orders loudly about what he wants. I’m not sure if he was simply frustrated that majority of the beautiful Vietnamese employees couldn’t understand him, or if he just always speaks loudly.
They seat him next to me. I scan the room. The gracious owner looks tense, as does everyone else in the room.
He instantly starts complaining in a near yelling pitch that the water is too cold. With each new complaint the customers and employees annoyance raises.
It was in this moment that I remember the journey I have been on of making myself a better person, inside and out. Part of this journey has led me to the Word, and I remember our number one instruction: “Love thy neighbor, as you love thyself.” I also remembered that Jesus didn’t come for the righteous, he came for the poor of spirit. He is our example of what we should strive to be.
With that thought, I turned to him as he was bellowing about why hasn’t anyone warmed up his water, and where was his nail technician?! I looked at him gently in the eyes and said, “She is in the back working hard to put together the tray to provide you with the best service possible. As soon as she returns, I know she will fix the water for you.”
He looked at me and then lowering his voice said, “Well there are a bunch of women back there doing nothing.”
I explained that they all work individually for their tips, and that this was a place to relax and practice patience.
Even quieter, he said, “I have trouble with patience. I’ve never been any good at it.”
I smiled and told him, “Having patience is against human nature, especially in this day and age with instant gratification. We all have to work at it, and this is the perfect place to practice while relaxing in a comfortable massage chair.”
His nail technician returned and I helped him communicate the process of a pedicure. We continued conversing and I learned he was a Vietnam Veteran who has neuropathy, and his doctor suggested pedicures to help. He also kept apologizing for ruining my relaxation time. I assured him he hadn’t.
We were at a primarily Vietnamese salon and the nail technicians instantly had a new connection with him. As I learned, the soldiers suffered alongside the local Vietnamese during the war, and he was apart of their history. As I translated, still in English, but in a way they could understand, you could see annoyance and tension replaced with empathy and kindness. Wow.
As I went to leave, I told the receptionist that I would like to pay for his services. Then came the goose bumps… She informed me that the lady right before me had already covered it.
You might be thinking, “Well, that is a nice story, but what’s the point?”
The point is simply Living Happy.
The company I work with called Nerium International, you might have heard me mention them before… No? Oh well, click here when you are finished reading this awesomeness.
Anywho, the CEO, Jeff Olson started another company called, livehappy. It is a company that’s focus is not on services or products (although they do send out a magazine monthly to Nerium’s brand partners and preferred customers for free), but it is a Movement.
Jeff believes, and I concur, that happiness is the precursor to success. Not the other way around. He is passionate about helping people become better versions of themselves, and in order to do that he has created the movement of #happyacts. These are random acts of kindness, if repeated daily, is proven to spread throughout the world.
How can I say it is proven? Easy, the same process of making a single penny grow to $10,737,418.00 by doubling it daily for one month can be applied to acts of kindness. We have all heard of compounding interest, but this represents the true power of compounding force!
What I witness today was the principle of happy acts in practice. I could have tried to ignore the man sitting next to me, but I didn’t. I decided to show him kindness, and because of that others were moved to do the same.
He could have yelled at me when I spoke to him, but he didn’t. What I learned was that he was just acting fearfully. He was uncomfortable and this was new for him. New can be scary. Also, and this is only my assumption, but because of his swollen ankles, scraggly hair, and missing teeth, I wouldn’t be surprised that he has learned to yell as a way to have his needs met.
I urge you to join the movement and be contagious with your kindness.