"Hello," Amanda greets the Panera employee she encounters as she rounds the corner to throw away her trash. The employee is taken aback, "Oh, hello," she answers, and smiles.
Simply typing "Hello" can't convey Amanda's tone. It's not the furtive "Hi" or polite smile that one gives as you pass someone on the street. It's full of meaning, more along the lines of "I'm friendly, and I love people. I noticed you. I hope you're having a nice day."
I've noticed this admirable quality in Amanda lately. She's the kind of child who will look an adult in the eye and have a conversation with them. I love that about her.
Recalling a situation that occurred when my dad (Pops to the kids) was here in May illustrates where she gets it.
We were walking through the parking lot after leaving church. All of us were headed left, to the car, and Dad's stride suddenly lengthened and picked up pace as he walked straight ahead, hand extended in greeting, "Are you really from Texas?" he asked, nodding toward the Texas license plate on the family vehicle they just exited.
"Yes. We just moved here," the man answered as his wife and three little ducks huddled around him.
That caught my attention, so I walked over and introduced myself to his wife. I got her name, email address, and phone number, because I know what's like to be a transplant.** We got in the car, and I said, "Thanks, Dad, for going over there. I'm sure it meant a lot to them to meet someone before they even walked into the church."
"Well, certainly. I saw that Texas plate, and I couldn't not say something."
"Stan never met a stranger," his partner Susan chimed in, chuckling, having witnessed similar scenes a multitude of times.
**I'm ashamed to say that I have not called or emailed that woman. I will. Perhaps today. We left for our vacation the next day, and when I returned we were in full-tilt "end of school" mode. That's no excuse, and every time I think of that scrap of paper with her email address on it that is in purse, I have a pang of regret over that unfinished business.