I take our “slogan”- Creating Relationships One Smile At A Time- very seriously. For us, it is the very definition of “truth in advertising”. As I have discussed many times recently, this year is very special because it is the 25th year that I have had the privilege of enjoying the dental practice that I received from my family dentist, Dr. Stanley Levy, on July 1, 1985. To commemorate this very special time, I am  having a party this Sunday to thank all the patient’s of Dr. Levy who have stayed with me over the past 25 years; and Dr. Levy himself, who is turning 90 this September will be there as well, so it promises to be an afternoon full of reminiscences, great stories, a few tears and many, many hugs!!

But I bring this up to demonstrate how we really live the message of “Creating Relationships One Smile At A Time”.  And you can bet that I will be filing a full report next week about the party, complete with pictures. But for now, I want to relate another story that is both unique and the pinnacle of “Creating Relationships”. It has to do with my receptionist, Cindy, and a long time patient named Tom. We were lucky enough to find Cindy close to 2 years ago when she was working at the Wine Merchant (the deli downstairs from us where we go most days to pick up lunch). We had been looking for a receptionist for  6 months and had committed ourselves to waiting as long as we needed to to find that special person who possessed the essential skills for our office (intelligent, funny, laid back and most of all, delighting in being able to help others).  Well, one day, after a particularly depressing interview with a potential recptionist, Edie said-“How about that cute blond at the Wine Merchant? She’d be perfect for our office!” And after a little thought, I realized that she was right. We had gotten to see her over several months on a daily basis in different situations (i.e. a line out the door with irate customers waiting to be taken care of, people complaining about their sandwich or their bill…)- and she was always sweet, responsive and kind.

So, long story short, she came to work for us and immediately fit right in- I can honestly say that I have never seen her in a bad mood- she is like a little ray of sunshine. Her history included living in Florida for 18 years where she worked at Williams Sonoma for 7 years and Bath and Body Works for 7 years. Cindy had never been married and  had recently finished a long term relationship ; I won’t say her age but let’s just say that she was born the year we beat the Dodgers in the World Series…….. She was thrilled to be back in Baltimore, reacquainting herself with her family and definitely not looking to get involved with anyone for awhile.

And now, enter Tom. Tom has been my patient for over 20 years and was married to another patient of mine (actually, that patient and her family had been patients since the beginning and then Tom joined us when he married Sandy). Well about 10 years ago, Tom and Sandy divorced and over the years, Tom has regaled us of his dating stories and online dating experiences. He is truly one of the funniest guys I know! So in comes Tom, literally 3 months after Cindy started, for his dental appointment and his first words are “She’s really cute; Can I ask her out?”. To which Edie and I immediately exclaimed “No!!!” Nothing against Tom but it took us too long to find her and I didn’t want anything to upset the apple cart; in addition, she had stated several times that she was not interested in dating for awhile.

So being a good listener, Tom proceeded to ask her out any way and much to my surprise, Cindy accepted. Now I could make this story 3 times as long with all the dating vignettes and the stories of Cindy’s introduction into Tom’s family of 8 brothers and 1 sister but suffice it to say that they dated 4 months and next thing I know, they are engaged!! They set the wedding date for over a year from that point and wouldn’t you know it, the time sped by like time does and …..Tom and Cindy got married earlier this month!! And the wedding was one of the most fun, most sincere, most inspirational weddings that I have ever been to. To me, what made it so special, was that it was very evident that everyone was thrilled to be there and extremely happy for Cindy and Tom. The reception was the most fun I have had in quite awhile with both families “getting down” including the over 70 crowd!!

But as I sat and watched the smiles and the dancing and the love, I couldn’t help but pat myself on the back and celebrate the magical randomness of life. If Cindy hadn’t decided to work at the Wine Merchant (on a whim as she puts it), if Edie hadn’t said “What about that cute blonde?!”, if Tom hadn’t stayed with our practice after his divorce and just as importantly, if he hadn’t totally disregarded our instructions…..but all that DID happen and as a result- Cindy Webster is now Mrs. Cindy Fleming.  I still shake my head at the awesomeness of fate, destiny, and the synchronicity that is all wrapped up in the simple phrase- Creating Relationships One Smile At A Time.