A smile alone does not guarantee excellent customer service, but excellent customer service almost always starts with a smile. However, mask-wearing obligations in nearly all service interactions cover friendly smiles during COVID-19. Results from two studies indicate that customers can decode employee smiles even when covered with a face mask. If employees express a neutral or negative emotion, mask-wearing covers the unfavorable emotions and increases perceived warmth. Wearing a smiling mask, increases perceived warmth even more strongly, leading to better service evaluations through a serial mediation with rapport. These findings enrich our understanding of face masks in service encounters.