Dear Panera girl,
When I came to order a coffee and breakfast sandwich this morning you greeted me with a smile. I simply smiled back and placed my order. Seemed like no big deal to me. But then, you threw into our brief exchange a small compliment. You said "I love your smile". I tried to act nonchalant, and replied with a quiet thank you. But I don't think you knew what that meant to me. I don't think you knew that I grew up feeling self conscious about my teeth. I don't think you knew that kids used to have a rhyme of "crooked teeth, crooked Keith" that stung more than I ever wanted to admit. I don't think you knew that I'm nearly 50 years old - more than twice your age and wearing braces for the second time. I don't think you knew that I woke up with a headache and aching teeth because of the rubber bands my orthodontist is torturing me with. I don't think you knew that I noticed this morning that the grey hairs have spread from just being on the sides to now appearing on the top. I don't think you knew that I can't recall anyone ever saying that they "loved my smile." I don't think you knew, that while I consider myself to be a successful husband, father, and physician that I still have some insecurities. I don't think you knew that you were going to make my day.
So because of all the things you didn't know, I'm saying thank you for making me use that smile a few extra times today!
crooked teeth Keith :)