A Smile Can Go a Long Way
When you are a homeless shelter staff person, or in any job where you are dealing with the public, a simple smile can go a long way to ease the interaction. The homeless person might be expecting a cold response on the part of the staff person—of course, it depends on the setting and circumstances. Homeless staff can and do get burned out easily. They must deal with the nicest people, and the meanest, the drunk and sober, the sane and mentally disabled. You name it, because the homeless population varies greatly.
But a smile, a genuine smile, is perhaps the most healing thing you can provide when a homeless person approaches you. What does that smile says. It says you are welcome, it says you are respected as a human being, it says your problem will be listened to, if not resolved. It says there could be light at the end of the tunnel.
A smile in the midst of travail, it can simply lift the spirit at a time when spirit is on the verge of being obliterated. That’s all there is to it. No words required in that moment.
Give a smile. It will come back to you.