Innocent joy

Last night, I went to dinner with my parents, then a quick stop at Wal-Mart to get Valentine’s gifts for my niece of nephew. Of COURSE the women’s restroom was being cleaned (isn’t it always when you need to go, but its always disgusting the few times its actually open?), so I was forced to search for an alternative.

We stopped at a McDonald’s on our way out of town so I could use the bathroom, and we could all grab a drink for the drive.

As I washed my hands, reflected in the mirror, I saw one of the stall doors open. I could barely see a dark curly head come out. I really paid little attention until the little girl tried to turn on one of the dryers behind me.

“Oops!” she said in her little girl, high pitched voice. She came around me and tried to get soap out of the dispenser, barely reaching it on tip toes. It didn’t let any soap out. By this time, I’d turned a dryer on myself and was drying my hands, eyeing this little bundle of energy with equal parts curiosity, amusement and dismay.

She reached for another soap dispenser and this time it worked.

“Did you get it?” I asked her with a smile.

“They put these things too high!” she said in defiance as she then tried to turn on the water. Again… it was a struggle. She just couldn’t push the lever up while precariously balanced on tip toes.

I waited a moment, watching her. She spun around suddenly and goes, “I like your shirt. And your sweater. I like it all!!”

I couldn’t hold back my giggles, “Well thank you so much! I like your jacket.” It was pink and purple and covered in hearts. This made her smile and she turned back to the task at hand. I reached over her and turned on the water for her. She gave me a look that was half thanks and half, “I could have done it myself… eventually.”

Looking in the mirror at me, she goes, “I like your hair. I wish I had short hair.” This little girl just kept amazing me. I smiled and thanked her again as she slapped the water off and spun around again. “I sure wish I could get my hair cut like yours!”

I smiled and said, “Tell you a secret… I used to have really long hair.” Her eyes got big. “How long was it?”

I turned around and pointed mid-back. “It was this long, and I cut it ALL off to this length.”

“You did!?! But that piece right there it longer…”

I nodded. “Yup, the front is just a little longer than the back… and I love it.”

She goes, “Me too. I like your hair.”

I grinned and went, “Well I like your pretty red bow in your hair.”

She nodded and went,”Okay!” and spun around and skipped out of the bathroom.

I just stood there, half wondering if that whole exchange had actually happened. I looked at myself in the mirror with a grin and walked out smiling ear-to-ear. The exchange that probably lasted not three minutes had made my whole night a lot brighter.

As I drove home, I kept thinking about the little girl. I was flattered by her compliments, but it was her confidence and radiant smile that stuck with me. She was ADORABLE, and in my heart I felt like she was one of those souls put on Earth to bring joy to others… even if just through her smile. I said a prayer that God watch over her… protect her and that smile from harm.

I didn’t get her name. I don’t know where she was from. I’m not even positive her age. But one thing I do know is that we need more people like her in this world…

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