I settled into my new daily routine, walking past the stages where classics such as The Wizard of Oz and Hook were filmed. Every day seemed magical to think that this was the place so many beloved stories of the big screen were created for the entertainment of the movie-going audience. Weeks and months went by, I was still there. Seeing the same people, day in and day out. Eventually, the novelty wore off and I decided to do something a little different to break up the monotony of my day-to-day. I started to say “Peace, love and sunshine” to my customers in lieu of goodbye. Why exactly? I’m not sure. I vaguely recall someone saying it jokingly to another person in college, after leaving a sarcastic bitter voicemail when a friend had overslept, resulting in all of us being late. I laughed in the moment but I do remember thinking to myself, ‘I like that.’ I forgot about it after that day, tucking it away somewhere in the back of my mind. About five years later, that phrase made its way to the forefront of my mind for whatever reason and I made the decision to use it.
People had different reactions. Some gave me a weird, confused look. Others enjoyed it. Chris Tucker declared,” I liked that!” and happily repeated it back to me. A few people just laughed. Some said “whatever.” Overtime, it became a game to me, to see how people were going to respond. I wanted to see what they would do. I never imagined it would become a thing. But oh my, did it ever.
This motto allowed me to build an individualized rapport with many of my customers. They came up with their own responses. People began saying it to me or abbreviated it to “PLS.” Some brought me little gifts, a pin or a bracelet that had the symbols representing these three words because it reminded them of me. People not only became accustomed to it, they expected it. Some people would call me out on it if I didn’t say it.
When I think of all these exchanges, the most significant moment for me was when one woman stopped me on Main Street to tell me that when she was feeling down, she would think of how I say, “peace, love and sunshine” to her and it would make her feel better. That is when I first begin to understand the power of positivity and the significance of the little things. I never imagined that a simple act of saying three positive words with a smile could have that kind of impact on a person’s day or that I could have that much influence on other people. Shortly after that exchange, I began to realize it was no longer just something I said. Peace, love and sunshine was now and will forever be a part who I am. There was no going back and no escaping it. The phrase became something I believed in. Words that really mean something to me and my core values. It is the essence of my positive spirit and that type of person the I want to be in this world and to this world.
PLS may have began as a simple way to break up the monotony of the day-to-day but it has grown into so much more. “Peace, love and sunshine” is no longer just how I say goodbye, it is how I live my life. It has taught me how influential a little love and kindness can be. It has shown me the power of positivity and personally proven to me that what you put out into the universe has a way of coming right back to you. The woman on Main Street taught me, on that day so many years ago now, that by sharing three simple words of kindness and a smile, I have the ability to bring a little bit of light into someone’s day. And that is a lesson I think we all can learn from these days. Sharing a little love and kindness with a stranger, a friend or a loved one can have a big and powerful impact. So go forth and share your own peace, love and sunshine with the world. You never know when you just might be the positive light that someone needs on any given day.
And that, my friends, is the story behind PLS. That is the story of how I became known as Sunshine.