My doorman is an older gentleman with limited English skills and a smile for me every single day. His face lights up when he sees me come in from work or from the market, and he immediately says, “Hello! Ni hao!” and laughs delightedly when I respond the same way. He’ll always make a comment or gesture toward a bag I’m carrying or to the weather outside and repeat whatever word I use to describe it.

Today, he was having wine in the lobby with some friends and immediately called me over to have a cup with them. He wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and poured me a to go cup when I motioned upstairs. Since I had been out taking pictures, I asked to take his. He posed with his friends then gestured for me to come take one with him.


This is the second time he has invited me to drink with friends in the lobby of our building. Last time it was hot tea and oranges. Since one of the men with him spoke English, he had me talk to him. I think he worries that I’m alone here and don’t have anyone to help or watch over me.

It’s amazing what a difference a little kindness can make in a day. I always look for him when I come in, knowing that he’ll be happy to see me and want to talk for a minute. When I’m having a bad day, I sometimes dread it because I want to escape to my apartment and be alone, but I always walk away feeling a little lighter.

So smile at someone today.

I bet you’ll both feel better.



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