“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received,” (Ephesians 4:1).

Recently, I went to Target to pick up some post-surgery prescriptions and do a little shopping. I loaded up the cart, made my way to the self-checkout, then caught the attention of a cashier when my mushrooms somehow made the red “check ID” light go on.

“I appreciate it,” I said. “Do you think I should get a concealed carry permit for my bananas too, just in case?”

She finished typing in her numbers and moved to deal with the next customer. Then she stopped, turned around and said, “Thank you so much.”

I smiled and raised my eyebrows in an unspoken question?

“You made me smile,” she said. “Thank you for that.”

I looked around, taking in the impatient, stony-faced people around me. Someone was growling at their children; another was yelling at an assistant manager; over in full-service I saw someone talking on their phone, blatantly ignoring the checkout employee right in front of them; there was an air of festering, oppositional, antisocial bad moods.

So I thought about making the cashier smile. It was not accidental.

I always make eye contact and offer a smile.

I read employee nametags and use them.

If the name looks difficult, I ask, “That’s a cool name, how should I pronounce it?”

I treat all support staff with courtesy and respect.

I always say, “Thank you!”

When the dentist called to see how I was doing, I said, “I appreciate the call—and most of all your obvious care.” His response told me he was genuinely touched.

Every day, every interaction, every online exchange, every phone call, every person we meet presents an opportunity to leave them feeling better about their place in the world, or—alternatively—worse. In that moment, it is entirely up to us.

This is my point. Every moment, sacred; every interaction, potentially redemptive; every person, a beloved child of God; every day, another opportunity to make someone smile.

This is our mission. – DEREK

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Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com.