“Sometimes by not doing all of the talking, we can create space for others to be heard. This is a powerful gift. You never know what someone else is experiencing.” -Rayna Rose Exelbierd
I share this story to inspire you to stay off your phone when you’re waiting in line. Connect with the person next to you, whether it’s an employee or just another customer. Avoid shopping online if you can readily get it nearby. We can change the world one conversation at a time. It starts with listening and asking meaningful questions. Your presence and interactions with others make the world a better place. I’m so glad I didn’t order Uber eats today, not just because I’m on a budget, but going to the store gives you a chance to connect with others.
I love the Boys Market in Delray Beach. They’ve got the best fresh cut fruit section and all of the employees are so courteous. The meat guys always ask about my book and my travels, and the managers and I have a special wave. Many times they’ll open a closed checkout lane just for me. Today It felt so good to be asked by everyone, “where have you been?” Who doesn’t love the feeling of being missed?
As I was checking out, I noticed the guy in front of me had picked out some delicious bread rolls. I made a comment, and he said it’s the best with lox (smoked salmon). I told him I got lox too, that my cat loves it.
As the man walked away, the woman checking me out asked, “what’s the name of your cat?” Once I told her Prince’s name, instead of sharing more details about him, I asked if she had one?
She replied she used to, I asked how old he was? She said he was 19, that he had mouth cancer, and she had to put him down. She described going to the vet on his final day. I asked if she went into the room for the final procedure. (I’m told not everyone stays with their furry friends in their final moments).
She smiled and said, “ I could talk about him all day.” As she held him, he looked up at her while he was euthanized. She said it was peaceful and his paws immediately turned cold. My eyes filled with tears, her eyes filled with tears as she thanked me for listening. I held her hand, and asked what was the cat’s name? She said Tennessee. I couldn’t believe it as I exclaimed that’s where I’m from! I gave her a big hug, and told her I’d give my cat Prince an extra kiss for her when I got home.
I pushed my cart to leave and wiped away my tears. As I stepped outside I realized I never caught the woman’s name, but forever we would be in each other’s heart. Everyday I write small moments I’m grateful for from the day before. It would have been more convenient and expensive to stay and order food from home, but this memory transformed the day of two complete strangers. Perhaps this is what they mean when they say home is where the heart is- connect with others where you can and if you feel comfortable. Everyone has a story. Go create space to listen. The rose grows.