The happiness in hello
On a big, big bike ride a little while ago and on my own in the Vale of Belvoir i’m going up a really steep hill in a village called Old Dalby and there is a bin lorry in front of me.
The hill is steep – I mean really steep – so I’m going pretty slow and I pass the bin lorry which is almost stationary and there is a bin man walking beside it.
We have a conversation while I’m riding my bike, only for 10 – 15 seconds and he smiles and gives me a genuine “hello” and asks me how I’m doing.
Bin men almost always do this. Later in the ride it happens again. I’m sitting having my breakfast outside a café and another bin lorry comes along with a bin man walking beside it. He looks at me and smiles and says “hello” and asks me if I’m enjoying me breakfast.
I walk my dog every single morning, usually for about 15 minutes and I walk or cycle to work. More than half the people I pass don’t say hello even if I say it to them.
I always make a point of trying to make eye contact with people that I walk past in the street, trying to instigate a “hello, how are you?”
I’ve made some friends that way, not great friends but just people I talk to each morning with whom I just share the gift of being alive as we get on with our day.
Ever since we’ve been in the house, until just a few years ago, we had to scream downstairs on a Tuesday morning at about 7:30am because the bin lorry was coming. We could hear it on the street opposite and there would be screams round the house of “bin lorry, bin lorry” as we ran downstairs to pull the blinds up so we could wave to the bin men. All my kids loved this and then grew out of it.
The guys in that bin lorry always made a huge point of stopping and waving as I would stand there with my youngest child in my arms so he or she could see, waving at the bin lorry.
They completely understood that our kids loved it - it made them smile and it made us smile.
I don’t see a lot of that in other places with ‘more important’ people. They’re too busy to stop and say hello.
Try it the next time you’re on the train or standing beside someone at a station or on the tube. Almost everybody wants you to, they’re just too frightened.
Blog Post Number: 1720