A man made a runner’s day a little more cheerful this morning when he passed her in a local park and told her to smile, Dumb Runner has learned.
Steve McCroskey, 71, was out for a walk around 7:15 a.m. when he encountered Elaine Dickinson, 26, who was nearing the finish of a 5-mile run—and, apparently, not looking pleasant enough.
“Smile!” McCroskey called out, grinning, as Dickinson approached him. “It can’t be that bad!”
McCroskey did not know Dickinson and in fact had never seen her before.
Delighted to be told how she should look by a random male passerby, Dickinson obliged.
“There you go,” said McCroskey. “You look prettier when you smile.”
“You have a great day, sweetie,” he added.
Dickinson finished her run smiling, she told Dumb Runner in an interview, and said she was grateful for McCroskey’s unsolicited advice.
“It was so kind of this total stranger to take an interest in my appearance,” she said. “It’s a nice reminder that there really are good people in this world.”
For his part, said McCroskey, it was all in a day’s work.
“I never miss a chance to tell a girl to smile,” he told Dumb Runner by phone. “I reckon I do that, oh, five or six times a day.”
“As a man, I figure it’s sort of my job to do so. One girl at a time, I’m making the world a happier place.”
Asked whether he ever tells men to smile, McCroskey laughed.
“No!” he said. “What a crazy question.”
Asked whether his suggestions to smile might be seen as an unwelcome and even hostile intrusion masquerading as folksy humor, a glancing-but-noxious way to reinforce the notion that men can and should control women’s bodies, McCroskey laughed again.
“No, sir. Girls just look prettier when they smile.”