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A lady walked in our store, looking a bit rushed. She wore a mask (Washington has mandatory masks rule), she sanitized her hands at our sanitizing station, she observed blue arrows on a floor. I greeted her and she asked "How is the store doing? How are you guys holding up?"

I took a breath and stopped myself from answering her question by telling her EVERYTHING uncontrollably.

Times for small stores and businesses are very trying. Nothing is "as usual", so the amount of time, concern, attention required to handle things is very demanding. I shared a few things of concern and few successes we had as well. I thanked her for caring and the conversation made my day. I was deeply touched by her interest and compassion.

Here is my main point: a lady like this (occasionally, a guy) walks into our store many times a day, every day. She has a different face, a different name. But the care of the community is what is palpable and heartfelt.

Small communities and neighborhoods are strong and resilient because we care about each other and we express that. The value of a kind word, of true interest, of an honest smile, is beyond its measure. It's what makes "us", it's what really helps. Say hello to the neighbor today. It makes a difference.

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