A smile for every day: A visitor’s look at the Greek Islands

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Azure Blue Water
Cruise Ships
Windmill on Coast
4 Wheelers
Stairs climb to uphill boats
The Blue Dome
Terrace View
Greece After Dark
Columns Restore
Site Above Town
Girl
Girl
Scenic Lookout

A smile for every day: A visitor’s look at the
Greek Islands

Andrew Swift learned of a Greek island known as Santorini when he watched the movie “Summer Lovers” while in fifth grade. He dreamed of going there some day and 20 years later the dream came true, but with an unexpected twist.

Traveling with University of Oklahoma fraternity brother Sean Dougherty, the duo was hardly in first class during their recent journey. They flew standby most of the time, stayed in $10 a night hostiles, rode an all-night ferry and rented 4-wheelers for $20 a day so they could move around the island and other parts of Greece, including Athens.

Santorini is known primarily for its tourism industry, particularly in the summer months. However, its wine industry and architecture also are unique. Yet, some of the best memories of Swift’s trip was the people, especially one little girl who caught his eye during a subway trip to the airport train.

In a journal account, Swift recalled noticing two boys with accordions accompanied by a young Greek girl.
“Her smile was warmer than the core of the Earth,” he wrote.

As the train makes more stops, the seats begin to empty and his grasp on his belongings begins to ease. The boys sit next to him and the girl takes a seat across the aisle.

“They are talking and I make eye contact with the little girl. There were two friendship bracelets on my wrist and I think that she would like one, so I untie the knot and hand her the bracelet,” he wrote.

Swift recounted that the girl’s face “lights up” as if she just received a new puppy. She played with the bracelet for a few seconds and then ties the bracelet on the wrist of her brother.

“The selflessness of this little puts me on the floor,” he wrote. “Then I asked Sean to give me my sunglasses out of my back pack. I hand them to the little girl and her face lights up even more than the first time. She takes the sunglasses and jokingly puts them on upside down. My heart is melting for this little girl.”

Unsure where their next stop was, the Greek boys helped Swift and Dougherty find their way. There were only enough seats for three people in the airport train wait station so the boys offered the two Americans seats next to the little girl.

“While we wait, Sean and I get high fives from her and we teach her how to pound and explode the high fives,” he wrote.

About five minutes later, the airport train arrives and the boys start to perform up and down the aisle. Swift gave the boys 60 euros, which “was not much for his talents.”

“I had two two-euro coins and some change in my pocket and I tell Sean I want to give the rest to the girl when we leave,” Swift wrote in his account of the trip. “They get off before we do so I opened my hand to her with the coins. She is too short to see inside so she gives me a high five and I drop some of the coins on the floor. She picked up the coins, saw my hand and gasped.”

The girl took pile of coins with her tiny hands and her brother put his hand over his heart and thanked Swift with a firm handshake. As she leaves the train with her brother, the little Greek girl turns around and said “yashu (goodbye)” with the “most soft and genuine smile.”

“This is the moment when I found myself,” Swift wrote of his encounter with the girl. “People helping people is the calling of humanity. If you are working for the common good, this is beautiful. Be aware in yourself and your situation and contribute something positive to it. Smile every day.”

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