Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Simple Kindness of a Wave

I originally got the idea for this post on Father's Day (June 21) and had the best intentions of linking it up for the fifth installment of 1000 Voices for Compassion or #1000Speak. On or around the 20th of each month amazing bloggers come together and post about compassion or themes closely related to compassion. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, please do join us! Like I said, I had good intentions, but I just didn't sit down to write this soon enough so here it is, July 8, and I'm finally typing words on the screen.

I was driving home on Father's Day and as I entered the outskirts of the town I slowed my truck down to allow what I am only assuming was a father and his sons to cross the road. The father was on a four-wheeled ATV and was followed by an older son on a dirt bike and two younger sons on smaller three-wheeled ATVs. I stopped and as they made their way into the ditch on the side of the road the father waved in a gesture of thanks. I waved back and immediately started thinking about the simple kindness of a wave.

Memories of growing up in a small town (less than 1000 people) flooded in and I recalled my own father "waving" at everyone he encountered while driving in his truck by simply flicking his index finger up from its resting place at the top of the steering wheel. I remember asking him, "Dad, who was that?" and getting the response, "I don't know." "Well then why did you wave?" I'd ask and he'd respond, "Just to say 'Hi.'" It made sense to me then and it still does now, but it's not something I see very often anymore, if ever and that makes me a little sad. Why don't we make the effort to wave and "just say 'Hi'" to complete strangers?

Shortly after that encounter with the father and sons, the provincial government started construction on one of the smaller, but heavily travelled highways between the town where I live and the city where I work. I'm annoyed by road construction as much as the next person, but in addition to tapping into the old cliche "patience is a virtue" to deal with the frustration, I noticed that a number of the men and women hired to work as flag people holding the "Slow/Stop" signs wave at every vehicle that goes passed. Their job has to be quite exhausting and boring, but despite that the same people who wave at me during my early morning commute to work are there still waving at me during my early evening commute back home. I always make sure I slow down to well below the suggested speed limit (a person stands zero chance of survival against a vehicle driving 60km/hour) and wave back. That friendliness makes the slow drive home not all that bad.

In 2016 I am launching a project called B(e) Kind 366 where I'll be performing a random (or not) act of kindness every day of the year. Waving to people, especially random people, is definitely on my list!

Do you have a friendly waving story?
I'd be delighted to read all about it in the comments!


  1. We're wavers and honkers in my family but of course, you and I are from the same province! Rurally, visiting my Grandparents I always noticed 'waving to everybody'. Now a rural dweller myself, I'm annoyed if a wave isn't offered here. In small town Manitoba, it's glaring right? It tells you they aren't very friendly, or most likely they aren't from here.

    Visitors to our home, even while we were in the city, are watched to their cars from balcony and now our driveway and waved at until they are out of vision range. I know my parents in particular are doing the same. Also leaving their home in the city, we wave as long as we're in sight and honk too. Strangers on the street, anywhere I encounter them: I am a smiler. That is my "hi". If they seem likely to appreciate it, I'll come out and utter "good afternoon" or "hello".

  2. What a great story. It is amazing how we can impact others with a smile, a wave, a nod, a hello... The list goes on. Love your idea for 2016! :)

  3. Have popped in often, but haven't left a comment since it was the same blog post. Wondering how you're doing?