Yes! My smile is genuine.
I was recently asked if an American’s smile is genuine. The question caught me by surprise. I had not thought of it being anything else. I’ve travelled quite extensively but never realized that my facial expressions and acts of kindness could have been distrusted for anything insincere or insulting. “I think I can speak for most Americans,” I replied. “We genuinely care about others, and our smile acknowledges their existence and welcomes their interaction.” I gave a current example. My wife and I had taken a walk down Michigan Avenue in Chicago the prior day. We approached from behind on the sidewalk, a man of another ethnicity who was strolling at a slower pace. As we politely stepped around him, our eyes met, and I nodded and smiled. A few steps further, he spoke and said, “You look like a nice couple!” I turned and smiled again, thanking him for the compliment and wishing him well. The distance between us may have continued far beyond where our paths will ever cross again, and yet … that moment in time and simple expression of kindness and acknowledgement will forever keep us connected.