Unforgettable People: The Smile

Written By

Indira Anand

Unforgettable People: The Smile Loading

Editor’s Note: Indira Anand begins a new series about people who leave a lasting impression, years after the association ceases. Write in with an account if you’ve ever encountered such an unforgettable person. In this episode, she talks about the quality of Unforgettable People: The Smile

It’s the year 2009. I ease my car into the parking lot outside work slowly, a hundred thoughts already running through my head — things to take care of, mentally preparing to start another working day and such other things. A man in a blue T-Shirt approaches my car, a big grin on his face. He is one of the many cleaners that frequent the parking lot in the hopes of getting a car to clean and make a few bucks.

Unfortunately I already have a car cleaner near my house who cleans up the exterior thrice a week for a nominal fee. I smile back and apologetically refuse his services. The grin never leaves his face as I walk away, lost in my own thoughts.

Years have passed by since that day. I’ve changed three cars since. And yet when I come into the parking lot, he knows it’s me. He knows he is not going to make any money out of my car as it’s always clean when I pull into the parking space. And yet, he always has a minute to smile, at times even indicate a free parking space with a wave of his hand. With no vested interest whatsoever. Just a simple gesture of one human being helping another.

It’s not just me either. Everyone at work remembers him instantly if you say “the smiling car cleaner in the parking lot”. He helps everyone unconditionally, finding parking spaces, or just lighting up your day with a wonderful smile.

In a world with a constant theme of hidden agendas and back biting and no one lifting a finger to do something unless there is some personal gain, this man stands out for me. Sometimes I wonder, what exactly does he have to smile about? Day after day he’s roaming that parking lot in search of car cleaning customers, earning a pittance, braving the extreme heat and cold of the outdoors. There are a few others who wears the same blue T-Shirt — the car cleaning company’s uniform. Yet none of them stick in my memory like he does. All the rest of them look cynical or resigned with their fate, grim faces accepting the grim reality of life.

He has managed to crack the code of staying happy and spreading happiness even when he’s had a really hard life. While hundreds of people zip in and out of that parking lot going about their daily business, there he stands, smiling and waving and just spreading joy.

I wonder how many people he has cheered up over the years. His face lights up so magically at the sight of a familiar face entering the parking lot that you cannot help but smile back, wave and go back to your life, with the positive energy of that smile adding so much to your day.

If a man facing so many hardships on a daily basis can take out so many moments in his day to spread cheer, so can we.

One smile at a time. That’s all it takes!




Indira is 40 years old and settled in Dubai for the last 18 years along with her husband. She works in IT Operations with a leading airline. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, traveling the world and other creative pursuits like knitting stuffed toys, clay modeling, drawing and painting. With her husband working in a furniture factory, Indira has the unique advantage of imagining a home improvement and actually having it come to life as imagined! A kidney transplant in 2010 changed a lot for Indira including her outlook to life and learning to live fully and in the moment. In her non-existent spare time, she also writes fiction and about strong women who have made it through everything. Catch her blog at mykidneybeans.wordpress.com

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