Wouldn’t it be nice

Senic Tari


A couple days ago, a girl whom I went to high school with called me out of the blue and said, “What are you doing?”  I told her I was just finishing lunch and she said, “I’d love to see you. I’m here with an Italian friend of mine whom I’d like you to meet, can you come by now?”  Timing was perfect so we met at a restaurant minutes away from where I was.  She speaks Spanish and English, he speaks Italian, Spanish and English and I speak Italian, Spanish and English, so no sooner did I arrive did we find ourselves in a triangle of language a Spanglish and Italish.  I caught up and I found out her worked at a near by fine dining restaurant.  It was a brief but fun meeting and our conversation lasted maybe ten or fifteen minutes at the most before we went our separate ways.

Last night I took a girlfriend to dinner and it happened to be at the place that Italian guy was was working, though I hadn’t made the connection yet. Well… We no sooner walked in the door and I see this tall figure do a double and triple take of me from at least 30 feet away. I recognized him and smiled broadly but his response was unprecedented.  He came rushing over, arms in the air, huge smile, an even bigger “Ciaooooooo!!!!!” followed by an enormous hug and an additional trail of friendly Italian speak.   You would have thought we were reuniting as long lost brothers! The hostess was flabbergasted and smiling, Jenna was smiling and marveling at how she could know who this person is who must certainly be a best friend.  Italian guy  gave me another firm embrace, and I introduced him to Jenna and caught up for another moment before we were seated.  The look on his face was complete elation and joy, like nothing else mattered in the world except that we catch up for this one moment.

I was rolled over. Steamrolled with happiness. Giddy even. (And I have to say giddy is not a response I am familiar with when it comes to other men…)  What a reaction! We barely sat down for two seconds when he came darting out to the table again speaking a 1000 miles a minute in Italian, hands animating each word, “Now look! I can’t be your server but I’ve already had words with the waiter who is handing this section. I told him he better take exceptional care of you, or he’ll have me to answer to!”  Wow! More smiles and then he walked away.

Immediately Jenna wanted to know WHO this guy was. I said, “Baby, I met him YESTERDAY for fifteen minutes!”  She said, “Wow! You met him YESTERDAY?  I thought you’ve known him for years!”  And we talked about it a few more minutes before finally perusing the menu.  What I was struck by most though, was this idea of, wouldn’t it be nice if that was the default way we greeted people?  Can you imagine? If infectious laughter and smiles and embraces was the default way we approached the world?

Before you get to logical on me and say, yes but if everyone did that it wouldn’t be special, or that’s just not how the world works, or that is cheesy, or you’ll never get EVERYONE to be that way, some people are just cold.. and all the other refutes…  stay with me a moment longer.  Besides, when you’re laughing and smiling and having a the time of your life do you ever interrupt yourself and say, “Wait a minute! This might be a problem! I might get to used to happy stuff… or there may be limited supply and I don’t want to use it up. Back to seriousness.”?

What if ONE person treated you that way Italian guy treated me on a daily or weekly basis?  What if throughout your entire week, once a week, ONE person lit up like a Christmas tree when they saw you and greeted you with overwhelming acceptance, friendliness and joy? If all fears and concerns of judgement or what people would think went out the door… Would that make a difference in your day? In your week?  For me it brightened my evening.  In that moment I KNEW, without a doubt, I want more experiences like that in my life. I want to feel this good and this appreciated even more!

There is nothing like the power of a good question and nothing quite like a great question:

What if that one person was who made that difference was you? What if you were the one who people couldn’t wait to see because your energy and zest was so off the charts, or pleasant to be around that more people couldn’t get enough of you; and they wanted to be around you, talk to you, have fun with you.

All too often our friends and family call us or we call them and we’re greeted with an, “Oh hey!” or “How are you?”  Can you think of ways to break the pattern for your relationships and friendships and set a new tone of zest for being alive?

Yes we can.

3 thoughts on “Wouldn’t it be nice”

  1. Agreed. Though, I can’t imagine myself greeting someone with so much enthusiasm that I burst at the seems. I think, if I tried it, whoever I was greeting would get a little scared and ask me to sit down and have a glass of water.

    I wonder, have you greeted anyone else in such a way :)

    Do you still keep in touch with this guy? Do you still go to his restaurant?

  2. That’s funny you should ask. I think for the most part we are in our status quo mood most of the time, which does not constitute bursting at the seems. However, I do regularly work on being in that type of mood (not all the time or it just comes off as fake) so that when I see friends I am much more excited than, “Oh hey man, what’s up?”

    That being said, yes I still go to the restaurant – took a girlfriend there yesterday actually, and we are still in touch.

    Finally, I tend to greet animals and pets that way.

  3. I’m sooo excited that I’ve found you!
    I finally found your card some 19 month after we met in Venice Beach. We were two lost Swedes, in town only for a few hours before going back to Sweden after a holiday trip to Hawaii. We bumped in to you in a flowershop when we were out looking for cooking knifes (maybe a weird place to do that in). Our steps were probably guided right into your path, because I have never come across a more caring and hospitable stranger. You took care of us, drove us to the cooking knife shop area and showed us around the place in an amazing way.(We still enjoy the Global knife we bought) Time flew and after a great walk around and lunch you also made sure we got back to our hotel in time, even though it was way out of your way. Do you recall any of this? We certenely do and we will never forget your warmth and frendliness. You personalized the american hospitability we had only heard of.

    When you wrote about the way your new found italian friend greeted you and how much it meant to you we had the same experience with you. It meant the world to us so thank you so much for being you and as I said to you as we parted: I think you are the nicest person we have ever met. You are uniqe but wouldn’t it be just fantastic if every visitor everywere were met this way? We will make our best effort to pass forward what you did for us. Many grateful thanks from Göran and Helene Felix from Sweden.

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