Each day the number changed and the interest from passing traffic grew. My wife was fourteen days overdue before she finally went into labor. Our daughter was born the next morning. I left the hospital at 5:30 AM, screamed my joy into the morning air, and drove home to sleep. I got up at noon, bought cigars, and appeared at my window in time for my fans. My co-workers were ready with a banner posted in the window:
"IT'S A GIRL!"
I didn't stand alone that evening. My co-workers joined me in celebration. We stood and waved our cigars in the air, as every vehicle that passed acknowledged the birth of my daughter. Finally, the bus from the docks made its turn onto the overpass and began to climb the hill. When it drew close, I climbed onto the window ledge and clasped my hands over my head in a victory pose. The bus was directly in front of me when it stopped in heavy traffic, and every person on board stood with their hands in the air.
I was choked with emotion as I watched them celebrate my new daughter.
Then it happened-a sign popped up. It filled the windows and stretched half the length of the bus. "CONGRATULATIONS!" it read.
Tears formed in the corners of my eyes as the bus slowly resumed its journey. I stood in silence as it pulled away from view. More fans passed. They tooted their horns and flashed their lights to congratulate me. I hardly noticed them, as I pondered what had just happened.
My daughter had been born fourteen days late. Those people must have carried that sign for weeks. Each day they must have unrolled it and then rolled it back up. The thought of them going through so much just to celebrate my new baby made me cry.
I made a fool of myself in that window for eight months. I made those people smile after a long day at work. They must have enjoyed it, because on the happiest day of my life they showed their appreciation.
That day, more than twenty years ago, changed me. I just wanted to make my day better. I didn't realize how it affected others.
Ever since then, I try to put a smile on someone's face every day. I compliment strangers on their clothing. I start conversations in elevators. I even make jokes in crowded New York City subways. Some may think I am stupid, but I know there is a chance that I'm making someone's day-someone who may one day hold up a sign that says "Congratulations!".