Be nice. Be happy.

Being nice. I'm not sure why this one is so hard. It seems like everyone is so caught up in their own agenda that taking a minimal amount of energy to smile and be courteous to someone is an inconvenience. How sad. Who wants to be sad like that? Not me!

I realize being nice is basic human communication. But then I also know from my experience that many people don't do this. I'd like to think people don't mean to be rude, they are just too busy to be nice. But being nice is not manners, it's not a formality; it's just being genuinely caring and thoughtful.

Being nice is our most abundant opportunity to share some positive energy in this world.

So here's what brings this up.

The other day, I was out having some drinks with friends. A girl I didn't recognize came up to me and asked, "Do you come into The Pit?" (a restaurant/bar where I live in the Outer Banks). I go there, but not often. She told me she used to be a bartender there, and then I recognized her. Over a month ago, I had gone in with friends and she served us. I asked her name and just did my normal thing. She told me she remembered me because she was having an awful night, and I was so nice to her and it made her feel better. Pretty sweet. We never know how someone's day is going, but even as strangers we have an effect on it. Every encounter is an opportunity to make someone's day better. (Megan and I are good friends now.)

Here's another memorable encounter that was even more surprising:

I met a friend one evening for coffee at a Starbucks in Virginia Beach. We were both going through a rough time and needed some girl chat. It was the holiday season, and the Starbucks was very busy. We waited in line for a couple minutes and then ordered our coffee. I simply said hello, smiled, placed my order and said thank you. That's it! The girl behind the counter then smiled at me and told me she was giving me my coffee for free because I was the only nice person who had been in there all day! Wow, a Starbucks filled with rude, busy holiday shoppers...season's greetings!

I want to stay in my naive world where everyone is nice and writing this would seem absurd. We all know being nice makes everyone happy. Maybe we just need a reminder. Simplify your life and take every opportunity to spread around some positive energy. Genuinely smile and acknowledge every person you meet. That simple act could just make their day, and yours!