I hate to be morbid, but I see a profound message in this anecdote. I heard recently that a man in his thirties committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Afterward, his psychiatrist went with the medical examiner to the dead man's apartment where they found his diary. The last entry, written just hours before his death, read: "I'm going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump."
A smile signifies delight. It is an indicator that the reality before the smiler, whether it is another person or an object, is good. He or she who causes the smile enhances the present reality. The person who smiles is, in effect, saying, "you are good!"
We do not have to smile. Life certainly can go on without the things that cause us to smile. But without smiles life would not be as good. Perhaps this man who took his life concluded he added nothing to the world; that life was not worth living. "May they perish at the frown of your face" says the Psalmist (Psalm 80:16).
I wish I could have been present to smile at or bless this man. Why bless? "To bless" comes from the Latin benedicere, which means literally, "to say good things." When the priest says, either at the end of Mass or at the end of an anointing or whatever other occasion, "May Almighty God bless you..." he is, in a way, saying "may God speak good things about you." We bless constantly because there are good things to say about everything. Maybe we should instill a habit of blessing more with our lips than with our hands.