Smiling Eyes

by John on September 9, 2011

I think it was because I just missed my daughter.

I found myself thinking about how much I missed her and how crazy my business trip had been. I had over prepared and that was a good thing. However I wasn’t prepared to observe the scene playing out in front of me.

We were in Des Moines, Iowa. Somehow the best accommodations we could secure for our job fair were your run of the mill embassy suites type hotel. Prepped and ready we waited and then we waited some more. We were ready for a whole bunch of possible candidates; sadly, the amount we received was not what we were expecting.

I excused myself from our room and went to the lobby for a change of scenery. I was going over in my head of things we could do to drive people to us when I caught a glimpse of a cute 4 year old sitting on a couch with her mom. Well she was playing and jumping, her mom was trying to fill out an application.

I’ll never forget her tired eyes and how she was dressed. Overdressed actually, hoping for an opportunity to talk to a shift manager about a housekeeping job.

Her daughter smiled at me, then reached for her moms arm, causing her to make a mistake on the application. Mom didn’t take that too well, and she yelled at her. She never saw me watching them, but I caught her daughter’s eye, and that was enough to start the tears.

I overheard the manager give the mother a standard “we’ll call you if there’s an opening” line and saw her face sink some more. She looked down at her little girl, squeezed her hand, and tried to smile.

I was stopped. Cold.

I grabbed some of the giveaways we had for candidates and a few free whopper cards and caught them before they left the lobby. “Excuse me, but may I give this to your little girl?” I said to the mother catching her by surprise. “Umm, sure” came the reply, “I guess so”.

Her daughter’s eyes grew bigger as I handed her the toys. She smiled and politely said thank you. I pressed the cards into her mother’s hand. She tried to protest and then flashed me the same smile. Walking back to the event, nothing else seemed to bother me.

I made her smile and that made all the difference.

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