A smile is the shortest distance between two cultures.

After lecturing at Bangkok university one day, Thomas J. Knutson was caught in a monsoon, without an umbrella and unable to hail a taxi. After installing Knutson under an awning with the correct directions to his destination, a Thai undergraduate student rushed back and forth through traffic to find a taxi for him.

Unsuccessful in locating a taxi, the student found coffee for Knutson and told him to keep warm while he continued to search. Minutes later, a taxi at last stopped in front of Knutson’s shelter. The student, now completely drenched, emerged from the back seat with a triumphant smile. He said, “The driver will take you to Assumption University. Thank you for allowing me to assist you.”

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Knutson searched, but never found the student who helped him. When he told this story to other Thais, they smiled knowingly, and said it’s enough to return his favor by helping others whenever you have the opportunity.

Smiling is a “language” of life that is universal. And without realizing it, we use this language daily. Two days ago, a friend introduced me to his mother who was visiting the United States from Russia for the first time. We were having drinks and dinner in a sports club with many sizable television screens loudly tuned in to the NBA playoffs and the NFL draft, accompanied by loud R&B and hip hop music in the background.

We two mothers were able to converse a little, but mostly we smiled. I presented a small gift and a Mother’s Day card that I had chosen for the occasion, and we smiled more. Nadia commented on my lovely smile, and I on hers. It was more than enough.

Thanks for sharing a smile!
Happy smiling,
D.L.

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