She was a young mother of three children, aged fourteen, twelve and three, and she was herself attending college. In her Sociology class, her professor gave the class an assignment – the last project of the term, a project called smile. The class was asked to go out and ‘smile’ at three people and document their reactions.
She herself was a very friendly person and always smiled at everyone and said hello. So she thought the project would be easy.
Soon after the project was assigned, she went to McDonald’s one crisp March morning along with her husband and her youngest son. That was an occasion for them to share special time with their son.
They were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away. Even her husband did. Overwhelmed by a feeling of panic, she turned to see why they had moved.
As she turned around, she smelled a horrible 'dirty body' smell. There, standing behind her, were two poor homeless men. As she looked down at the short man, close to her, she saw him smiling at her.
His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of light as he searched for acceptance. He said, 'Good Day' as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.
The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. She realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. She held her tears as she stood there with them.
The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, 'Coffee is all Miss' because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).
Then she really felt it - the compulsion was so great she almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes.
That is when she noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on her, judging her every action.
She smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give her two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. She then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. She put the tray on the table and laid her hand on the blue-eyed man's cold hand.
He looked up at her, with tears in his eyes, and said, 'Thank you.' She leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, 'I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope.'
She started to cry as she walked away to join her husband and son. When she sat down, her husband smiled at her and said, 'That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope.' They held hands for a moment and at that time, they knew that only because of the Grace that they had been given were they able to give.
That day showed her the pure Light of God's sweet love.
She returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. She turned in 'her project' and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at her and said, 'Can I share this?' She slowly nodded as the instructor got the attention of the class.
She began to read and that is when she, the young mother, knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed. In her own way she had touched those two men, the other people at McDonald's, her son, the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night she spent as a college student.
She graduated with one of the biggest lessons she would ever learn: UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.
All leadership is transformational leadership and all leaders are transformational leaders. For, if you cannot touch and transform people, you are not a leader at all.