By JB Smiley, Jr.

Hello. How may I help you?
Like clockwork, almost every morning, I drive through line of a particular fast-food restaurant (I really
need to start cooking) and the cashier greets me and, at some point, the cashier says, “How may I help
you?” I then go through this ritual where I try to trick myself into getting something different and I
ultimately decide on the same thing I get every time I visit. Today was no different. But for some reason,
it stuck with me today. No matter how many times I visit, and talk through other items on the menu,
and ultimately choose the same menu item, the cashier always asks me how may I help you, wait for me
to respond then enter my order.
“How may I help you” is the question we must ask one another daily. In life we will all experience ups
and downs, and for some of us those downs can take a toll. However, if we are all earnestly asking one
another “how may I help you,” despite the generic responses that are frequently given, we may hear
and truly understand how we can lend a helping hand. We must be intentional about listening and
helping our brothers and sisters because at the end of the day, we are all in this together.

I recall speaking to a group of young people and I thought my message was falling flat. The students
seemed uninspired and unengaged. At the conclusion of my talk, I began to pack my things. I was
already thinking about scrapping the message and never doing it again. Before I exited the room, four or
five students approached me with different questions related to the talk I just finished giving. After a
brief conversation with each student, it was apparent that each one of them walked away feeling
motivated to finish the school year strong. What I had to understand and what I hope that we all
understand is that we cannot help everyone but if we can help someone, our service and concern for
one another will be worth it.

So, let me pose the question, “How may I help you?”


JB Smiley Jr. is licensed to practice law in Arkansas and Tennessee. He is the founding member of Smiley & Associates, PLLC, a law firm based in Memphis, TN. He is currently a candidate for Shelby County (TN) Commission, District 8. Learn more about Mr. Smiley by visiting and

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