Sarah Stultz: What can you do to give others a smile?

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

It’s funny how one simple act can put a smile on your face.

I ran into Walmart real quick Monday evening before heading to rehearsal for Albert Lea Community Theatre’s “A Christmas Story, The Musical,” and lo and behold, at the exact moment I was getting out of my car, I looked over and noticed someone dancing in the parking lot a few cars over from mine.

Anyone who has been to Albert Lea’s Walmart in recent months has probably noticed the up-tick in the volume of the music playing from the speakers in the parking lot.

The first time I heard the music at that level, I was caught off-guard by it and thought it was a little strange. I thought maybe there was a substitute person in charge that day who decided to crank up the tunes. However, every time I’ve gone back, the music has been the same.

I remember about three weeks ago, I went into the store and Mariah Carey’s legendary “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was blasting from the speakers. I dislike the song quite a bit, but I have to admit it made me smile as I walked into the store.

I’ve started to notice in recent visits that I come across someone who is dancing or singing as they are walking to or from the store.

I know my 9-year-old son, Landon, usually breaks out into a little jig as we walk into the store after he hears whatever music is playing over the speakers. I, myself, have been tempted — and that means a lot coming from a person who doesn’t like to dance.

I don’t know why the music is louder these days, but I do know that the majority of the people I’ve seen in recent months coming in or out of the store don’t seem to mind it — or if they do, they’re not making a big fuss about it.

I was thinking about my last visit to the store as I was contemplating this column, and it was a good segue as we begin the month of December, a month that for many is a special time of year.

I know for myself, this month is a time I try to be a little kinder, to have a little more patience and to do what I can to lend a helping hand whenever I can.

I’ve said it many times before, but sometimes even a simple smile can make a difference in someone’s day.

That can come from a “Good morning” or “Hello,” from holding a door open for someone or by offering a genuine compliment to another person.

I’m not saying we all need to start dancing in the parking lots, but there’s lots of ways we can bring a smile to someone in our sphere of influence — just remember, it doesn’t have to be anything big to make an impact.

But to those people in the Walmart parking lot who can’t hold back singing or dancing,  keep it up. I enjoy it every time I see it.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.