Aloha E Mino'aka (Love to Smile)

I discovered an okazuya (Japanese food station) located in a new grocery store during their grand opening. I like the food choices and will occasionally drive the long way home just to pick up a meal from there. 

I have never experienced more than one or two people in line because there are usually two or more workers at the station. On this particular day, the line was unusually long with only one worker to help several customers who appeared to have all the time in the world.

 “When you mino’aka (to smile), the Aloha in your heart reaches out to others.”

First in line were two aunties huddling together and requesting to sample almost everything while simultaneously asking questions and deciding what to order. The second customer was a guy who ordered two of this and three of that, which made the worker reorganize the takeout box several times. Standing behind him was a lady who had enough time to figure out what to order as she waited in line. She still seemed undecided, probably because she heard the two aunties loudly commenting on every sample.

When the wait becomes too long, I start to problem solve more efficient ways to make the line move faster to occupy my time. Thoughts ran through my mind if they should have more workers. Is there more than one worker on break? Are they shorthanded? Is there a manager around to notice the lack of help?

I watched as the worker dutifully assisted each customer while glancing towards the rest of us as if to acknowledge she knew we were waiting. She was trying her best to move things along. When she glanced in my direction, I imagined sending her telepathic messages to hurry it up.

 “Smiling can boost your mood, lower your stress, and make you happier.”

Finally, it was my turn and I smiled before placing my order. I decided a long time ago to consciously smile as an intentional act of Aloha. The worker immediately thanked me for smiling. She explained how much she loves smiling customers because it brightens her day. Her comment made the other customers in line smile, too. 

I started to wonder how many times a day the worker helps customers who do not share a smile. When you e mino’aka (to smile), the Aloha in your heart reaches out to others, which in turn changes their attitude and approach towards you. Smiling can boost your mood, lower your stress, and make you happier. It also shows that you are friendly, caring and present in your interaction with others. When you aloha e mino’aka, it can positively impact someone’s day, especially someone like the okazuya worker.


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