When Brian and I moved to New York from the Midwest, many people asked us what the people here in New York were like. They had heard New Yorkers were mean.

We never found that to be so. My thought was, ‘you get what you give out’ and that’s what I’ve been working on for years. You can’t give anything away that you don’t have, which begs the question, what do I have? What we have is beyond what the ‘eye’ can see.

Have you ever noticed you attract people who have a certain type of ‘personality’? For example, some people find they attract people who are happy or sad, givers or takers. Then they wonder why they attract these types of people. Hmmm, this might be something for you to think about, that is, if you haven’t already. And, if you want to, you can even change.

For the past few years, Brian and I have been taking daily, early morning walks in the Hudson River Park. We often passed a man, dressed in camouflage, without saying hello to each other. Then, in time, we would nod to each other. No real eye contact or connection, just a nod.

As I do every morning, I was listening to or reading some spiritual words to start my day off before going out. One morning, I decided to give what I would like to receive—Kindness. I purposely smiled at that man. He smiled back. Since that morning, we’ve smiled at each other whenever we passed. The smiles continued, but then the hello waves were added, from a distance.

We then began looking forward to see, smile and wave at him every morning. This was about the time I started writing for Village View. I wanted to give him a paper, but from his outward appearance, I wasn’t sure how he would react. With all this political separation going on, him being dressed in what seemed to me to be full-combat, I honestly wasn’t so sure it was safe.

On Christmas Eve day, as the river was cresting the esplanade, we happened to pass by the man, and we both commented on the high waters, briefly. By the time the January issue of the newspaper came out, we decided to take a risk, go talk more with him and give him a paper. He gladly accepted it.

The next day we saw him. He was so excited he talked with us about it! He had ‘come alive!’ He talked about Rosie the doodle dog in the January issue—how he didn’t know about doodle dogs but now he sees them all over. He told us he had just met Lou Lou, a Bernedoodle we too had just met. Then, another pet owner who we see almost daily, came up to us and said to the man, “I see you every day!”

Seeing he was so open, I told him about this column, “Joy in the Moment,” and gave him my contact information. Soon after I returned home from that encounter, I heard from him. He told me of his wife. “She was enamored by what you wrote and I must say, I’m impressed too.”

He then told me his birthday was the next day. Wow! So was my father’s. My father would have been 99 years of age. We decided to all get together to celebrate…the four of us.

We did and now look forward to see and talk with him every morning.

There’s a saying, “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kindness.” This means giving without wanting or expecting anything in return, giving up my judgments and accepting people as they are.

Be kind and share it by wearing that smile of yours. You may be surprised by who and what you attract. This can help you enjoy joy in the moment.

Joy Pape, FNP, CDCES, CFCN is a board-certified nurse practitioner who believes in and practices wholistic health and healing. She is a board-certified diabetes care and education specialist, and foot care nurse. She practices at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian, as well as with Dr. Rock Positano DPM, MSc, MPH, DSc, Founder and Director of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service and the Joe DiMaggio Heel and Pain Center at The Hospital of Special Services. She also has a private practice located in the West Village.