He wasn't on TV, wasn't a public speaker around town, not a friend or religious leader, he was just a man I saw at the grocery store.
He wasn't even a "normal" man, in fact. When I first saw him I gave a weak smile as he said hi, which was more contact than plenty of others were making with him. I think we were all stunned and scared off by this large man in a motorized cart with eyes focusing in two directions and drool hanging from a distorted mouth.
I saw him a second time toward the end of my shopping trip and remembered that he had said "Hi" earlier and would probably appreciate one in return. I smiled widely this time and said Hi before he could. This time, however, he stopped his cart and moved to the side to talk to me.
"Can I make you a flower? I like to make flowers for beautiful women."
He pulled out one of many sheets of bakery paper he had in his cart and began to twist it into a rose for me. I wasn't expecting a flower or a compliment, especially since I did not feel beautiful this morning! I haven't been sleeping well the last few days and still felt pretty groggy while getting ready to leave the house. I"m at the stage of pregnancy where my belly is prominent but not quite into maternity tops, and I felt like I couldn't find anything to wear that I would look and feel good in. Since I didn't feel good, anyway, I had also decided not to wear any makeup, knowing my racoon eyes would probably scare the dead!
"You are a beautiful woman. I love your smile. You have beautiful eyes. They smile when you smile. Thank you for letting me make you a flower so I can try to brighten your day as much as you've brightened mine."
He talked with great difficulty while occasionally wiping white foam from his mouth and explained as I smiled that he had suffered nerve damage in a car accident a few years ago. I realized at that point that I'd been talking as if he were a child-- it was a natural reaction I get when I"m around someone with special handicaps, but I realized that though he didn't have the functions I did, his brain was fully developed and he deserved to be respected and talked to like a person.
I told him that he had, in fact, made my day with his compliments and happy demeanor, but he wouldn't accept it.
His name is Tommy. He reminded me of President Thomas S. Monson, whom I know goes by Tommy to his friends and family. One of the things I love most about President Monson is his love for others. He is constantly talking about service and the importance of serving our fellow man. I was ashamed at first that I had been reticent to meet his gaze, but after such an uplifting experience with this total stranger I think I'll remember his and President Monson's example to love and serve all of those around me.
Because you never know who you meet is going to completely make your day.