I walk against the crowd, shoulders slumped and collar up against the rain. I bump into someone every two seconds, but in a city like this no one cares. Unless they do. But I think those people are just having a bad day and need someone to yell at. That happens a lot in this city, I think. There’s a lot to give someone a bad day. Take the rain, for example. Cold. Wet. Gets into everything. But hey, it is what it is. The rain can’t help itself. It just gets too heavy up there and has to fall. Imagine if you had a hundred barbells on your arms, wouldn’t you want to drop them? That’s like clouds and rain, I think. They have it tough just like us down here. We’ve all got different problems.

The girl in the supermarket who yelled at the customer behind me for being too loud on the phone probably just got dumped or something. The mom cussing at her kid in the aisle probably had a really long day. I don’t condone the cussing or the yelling—there are better ways to handle your frustration—but in those kinds of situations I always try to find some way to make their day better. I was buying flowers for my little sister’s dance recital, so I handed one to the girl in the supermarket. She smiled, and I think I saw tears in her eyes. That smile is what I love to see. It makes me smile, too. I offered to carry the mom’s groceries for her for the rest of her shopping trip and she turned her cussing on me, but better me than the kid. Y’know, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes you offer the wrong thing at the wrong time. But sometimes it’s just the thing someone needs, and I always like being that person who brings a little bit of sunlight into someone’s rainstorm, y’know? Brings a smile to their face.

We’re not the only ones dealing with things. I always say if we lash out in return to someone we only make things worse for both of us, but if you try to be nice… it may not help the other person every time, but it’ll always help you, and often it’ll help the other person too. It doesn’t take that much more effort to be nice to someone.

I jostle into another person.

“Hey, watch where you’re going!”

I look up into the eyes of an angry man and give him a smile. “Sorry about that. Have a great day.”

I only glimpse his wide eyes briefly before I turn back into the crowd to continue on my way. I hope I was enough to make his day better.

I take a seat under a department store awning, wrap up in my coat, and close my eyes to sleep.