As with all holidays, I'm a mighty fan of Valentine's Day. As far as I'm concerned, single doesn't have to be synonymous with cynical when it comes to February 14. Sure, it's not necessarily my fuh-avorite to go flowerless while others around me are being showered with roses. Nobody likes their have nots highlighted.
But that feeling is fleeting and greatly trumped by the happiest thought: that we're all sitting here, on this day, blatantly celebrating love. Shouting it from the rooftops - instagramming our flowers, tweeting our cards, eating our chocolates.
Today, I had a few hours in Vegas before my return flight. My boss told me, in no uncertain terms, not to work this morning after our intense week. Never one to disobey orders, I thought it the perfect time to go to the outlets.
My cab driver took me to the mall, then said he'd wait for me while I shopped, since I only had about 30 minutes, then take me to the airport.
Are you sure? I asked.
Of course, he assured me.
So then I said: Well, in that case, can I leave my bag with you?
And his face lit up. He said, in broken English: that means the world to me. That you think I'm trustworthy. That you don't know me, but can tell I will protect your bag.
And while some may argue that I look at this as a lesson in being just slightly too trustworthy, I'll take a different perspective.
You see, he then went on to tell me that he left Haiti after the earthquake. He ran an orphanage there, and lost 17 of his 26 children in the aftermath. He and his four biological children and wife came to America to try to rebuild - beginning again completely. He's a minister and he's saving money right now so they can move to New York or Canada. He already has $700 saved, too and someday, when his daughter becomes a doctor, they're going to go back to Haiti to save children.
And while I sat there listening to his story, I thought about the fact that we all just want someone to listen, to care. To think that our story is worthwhile. That we're worth investing in.
We're all the same: we just want to be loved and give love.
So today, instead of thinking about the flowers that didn't get delivered to your door, or the card that didn't quite have the sentiment you were hoping for, think about all of the love around you. As you're walking down the street, or checking out at the grocery, give someone an extra long smile, or a warmer gaze than you usually do. Because today, we celebrate our love for one another. And everyone deserves to feel loved.