In honor of International Happiness Day, I’m sharing this story about one of the happiest moments of my life.

I was running in my neighborhood on a summer morning years ago and the temperature was already in the high 80’s and super humid. I was icky, sticky and sweaty (stay with me, this detail matters).

As I rounded a corner I saw a big yellow house with a circular driveway and a bunch of little girls, who from a distance, appeared to be selling lemonade.  I was wishing I had tucked a couple of dollars into my pocket because I could use an ice-cold lemonade. But I had nothing.  Darn, no lemonade for me and no sale for them.

As I got closer, there was no lemonade stand.  What in the world were they selling?

When I got very close, all of them, about six little girls, ranging in age from six to eight years old, ran toward me and excitedly started talking – each of them saying the same thing:

“Can we give you a makeover?! Please?!”

All the reasons why I should not get a makeover raced through my head.  First, I’m sooo sweaty!  I’ll ruin your mother’s good makeup.  Next, I have no money.  I can’t afford a makeover. And as always, I was on a schedule.  I needed to be somewhere soon.

But as each of them pleaded, I looked deeply at those precious little faces. I was putty. I would have done whatever they were asking. “Sure!” I said. But…

“I don’t have any money.  I can’t pay,” I apologized.  “I can bring you money later?”

“It’s okay. It’s free,” they assured me.

“Okay, awesome! I’d love a makeover” I said.

And with that, like the kids fixing Charlie Brown’s sad little Christmas tree, many hands started to apply liquid base, powder, pink blush, blue eye shadow and pencil. Fully focused, they worked in unison, like a pit crew patting, primping and sprucing me up.

I soaked in the attention and their magical energy as they made me look like a princess (or a streetwalker).  My heart was full as I savored this moment of feeling 100% happy.

Why? Because it was a complete surprise. It was a gift given with love and joy. And it offered a true connection with a stranger (a bunch of them) which, if you’ve ever had one – a real connection with a random stranger, it can be magical (especially with kids).  It reminds us we are connected.  We just need to let our guard down and look into each other’s eyes.  Or souls.

After about 20 minutes, they finished and I got to look in the mirror.  Wow! I definitely looked better than when I set out, a little theatrical for my taste, but glowing.  Glowing from being filled with joy.  My heart still swells when I think of that morning and my free, surprise makeover.

My advice is say “yes” to happiness whenever you have a chance encounter.  You’ll be prettier inside and out.

(And NEVER pass up a lemonade stand! Last weekend I was again out for a run and there it was – a lemonade stand which also made me incredibly happy!  A bunch of neighbors, two cops, and two precious little girls dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day. A cold drink, warm connections and Happiness!)

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