OpEd

Story published: 06-18-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Put up your sign, let others smile


Sometimes low technology really works — the letter or note in the mail, the picture printed on paper and glued in the family album, a nice hello as you pass by, or something like that.

In Toronto, Ayden Byle moved into his new home and started putting up a chalkboard in his front window with cryptic messages to lighten the mood of everyone who passed by.

Messages include: “One simple hello could change everything;” “Grace trumps Karma;” and “Is there any better place than here?”

Each morning there is a new message. Since he is near a school, parents who drop off their children find themselves driving slowly by his townhouse to see what the message is.

Some even leave sticky notes to encourage him or to make requests.

This started right after he moved in. When he went shopping for furniture, he noticed a sign in a store window that said, “If you’re looking for a sign, Here it is.”

With curious neighbors looking into his home to see what he was doing, and being a bit self conscious, he bought the sign and put it in his front window.

Then he began changing what it said each day with messages that he felt valuable for folks who looked in.

He says that while he has bought into the materialism of life, “you gotta slow down and enjoy the small things.”

So, chalk dust of many colors is his way letting go. One day, he jokingly put up a sign

“NEED CHALK, WIFE - SOON.”

Within an hour, boxes of chalk began appearing on his porch, followed by love letters, sticky notes, and cards from others with quote ideas.

One letter read, “I see you got the chalk. How’s the wife coming?”

When he threw a housewarming party in a normally quiet neighborhood, nobody complained — they were all at the party.

Yes, the “Chalkboard guy” has changed the neighborhood. A daily procession of folks walk by just to see what he has on his board for the day.

One message read, “One Smile could Change Everything.”

A smile, a kind word, a thank you card, flowers.

In this fast moving, high tech world, where everything is everywhere, low tech still works.

So put up your sign and let others smile.