"You look very nice."
I heard the male voice just behind my left shoulder, as I made my way through the crowds after a long, hot, tiring day at the Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival in Pensacola, FL.
I turned and looked at the gentleman who'd fallen in step with me.
Sweaty, disheveled, and and exhausted, I laughed and said, "Wait.. who, me?"
"Yes, you. You look very nice. "
Then, he stopped and said, "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be inappropriate."
Normally, I would have just mumbled a quick "thank you" and hurried on. But, he was very sincere, polite and respectful. I sensed that I should also stop.
So, I did.
And, I waited.
"I have just decided, 'what the heck' these days. I have so many friends who have died, are dying, or are sick. Life's too short. If I want to say something nice these days... I just say it."
He hesitated, then looked me in the eye and asked, "Is it okay? What I said to you?"
"Of course," I replied. "And, thank you very much. I actually needed to hear that today."
And, we both moved on... in the opposite directions that led to our respective lives.
It's funny how a random, 60 second encounter with a total stranger can continue to rattle around in your brain until you finally stop racing from here to there and really consider what was said.
"Life's too short. If I want to say something nice these days... I just say it."
16 little words that are hugely profound.
I began to think about all the missed opportunities I've had to say something nice to someone, to lift someone up, to encourage, to help...to heal. The reasons for letting the moment pass probably seemed good at the time.
"I'm in a hurry." "They are in a hurry." "I will say something next time." "I don't know them." "They'll reject it." "They'll think I'm weird." And, on and on.
Life's too short.
In this, the "Thanksgiving month," it's appropriate to be thankful for the time we are given. 24 hours every day to DO SOMETHING. Even if that "something" is just a kind or uplifting word to someone we know... or someone we don't.
Today, think of what that gentleman said. "If I want to say something nice, I just say it."
So, here's the deal. Let's go out on a limb and say something nice to someone today. Even if it's a total stranger. Perhaps, especially if it's a total stranger. I will if you will!
We may make someone's day. We may make our own day!
We will almost certainly make good use of our time.