The girl at the memo counter kept her eyes on her work as she reach out her hand to take the prescription for an x-ray that I held in my extended hand. "The ID card!" She said, her eyes still focused on the keyboard of her computer into which she was punching in the information. Soon she had a print-out that she handed over to me -- still her eyes not meeting mine nor any expression of even a whiff of a smile that could impress me as a patient or customer. I wait for just another moment hoping to see that hint of a smile light up her face -- for I wanted so much to see that it is the human touch that makes for quality of care -- not the physical facilities in an institution as most would want to think. Alas! That smile never emerged.
This episode could be counted at many of our counters, in travel offices, hospitals, government offices, and many other service spots. What's the value of a smile? It matters the world of good -- for spreading kindness, good will and compassion. Alas! In our country we have lost much of that touch as we lean strong into the ways of development and competition and big egos, leaving behind not even as vestiges the good of neighborliness and sharing that our forefathers had left for us. But the contradiction is that in this new age of the business and personality ethic, smiles are much of today's fare, even though plastic. Are we losing both worlds?
Can we do something to revive these? A smile doesn't cost us anything and yet we are reluctant to give it.