One morning, on my way to dropping off my youngest daughter to school, we saw this man walking and he throws up a peace sign. He has the biggest smile on his face as he does this.
At first, I was taken aback because I didn’t know this man. Was he actually looking at us? Or was that meant for another car passing by? So naturally, I didn’t respond back.
The next time my daughter and I see him walking, he does it again! He coolly throws up the peace sign along with that welcoming smile. As I look back at my rear view mirror, I notice that he is doing this to every car that passes by.
I later tell my sister about this man and she has already encountered this act that this man does. She confirms that he does this on a regular basis to passersby. How cute, I thought.
So the next time my daughter and I see him, we reciprocate the act by throwing back a peace sign ourselves. As we do this, we can’t help but smile as well. And so it began, this act of throwing back a peace sign to this man we didn’t know.
There would be afternoons, on our way home that we would also see him and this ritual would continue. We couldn’t help but feel this warm and fuzzy feeling inside. He actually would make our day with this simple act of his! We lovingly named him “The Peace Man”.
We didn’t see him every day but when we did, we would get excited to be able to throw up that peace sign. My daughter would exclaim, “It’s going to be a great day today! We saw the peace man!”.
As the year wore on, we would see less and less of The Peace Man. And when we did, we noticed he hardly threw up those two fingers. He didn’t have that jolly stance to his walk as he once did.
My daughter and I were baffled. What happened to The Peace Man? Why was he no longer doing the peace signs to cars that passed by? Why didn’t he look as happy as he once did? Who knew this would affect us to the point that we felt sad at this lost act of his.
My daughter and I decided that the next time we saw him, we would initiate the act of throwing up the peace sign. The first time we did this, he looked as confused as we did the first time we ever saw him. It was quite comical.
As we continued to do this, we noticed his smile was returning. And although we noticed he was no longer throwing up the peace sign to every car that passed by, we didn’t hesitate to throw one at him.
By now, he seemed to look forward to seeing our car pass by just as we had looked forward to seeing him during our initial encounters. My daughter would say that it was only right for us “to return the happiness he brought us”.
At one point, I had my mother in the car with me, and she asked us who he was. We told her we didn’t personally know him but he made our day! As most protective mothers would react, she got upset and told us “Stop entertaining that man before he follows you guys and do something crazy!”
Well that thought never even entered our minds, and so despite my mother’s disdain, we continued with this ritual with The Peace Man.
My daughter and I never stop to introduce ourselves to The Peace Man. We concluded that this anonymity was best. The less we knew, the better!
My daughter and I would shout in celebration after each encounter, “It’s going to be a great day today! We saw The Peace Man!”. And indeed it would be!
What simple act could you do today that would make a huge impact on some stranger’s day? What joy could you bring to someone just by a simple smile or “hello”? Or better yet, a peace sign!