Talking to Strangers

Interactions happen every second of the day. We pass people all day long, never knowing what situation they are dealing with. Have you ever stopped to think about the effect that you have on people in your every day life? Whether it’s being kind enough to give food to people in need or the simple gesture of helping an elderly person walk across the street? It could be just telling your story in life to effect the person that is listening. All it takes is an ear and a heart to get a better understanding of who we are as human beings and how we can make a difference in a simple conversation. 

As we made our way to Santa Cruz for a brief weekend away during Covid, we decided to take a Lyft to the downtown area for dinner and a couple of drinks. As we boarded the Lyft, we started talking to the driver and asked some questions about how she got to Santa Cruz. She spoke about moving there last year to get sober. She had really struggled with alcohol and finally made the decision to get help. After getting sober, she decided to stay in the area. She now is the manager at a recovery house for people addicted to drugs. She told us about some of the sad situations that she deals with on a daily basis. Trying to get people out of habits that have controlled their life for so long. As we rode, we listened to her story and the amazing life of charity she is living at the moment. Not only getting up the courage to change her course in life, but also wanting to help others correct their course too. It was a very impressive sign that people can push through a strong habit and make something out of a difficult situation. 

We met a man on our Uber ride to a local food restaurant in Oahu. He spoke of his journey in life. He and his daughter opened a tour group in Maui, as she left for other things he decided to sell his business and travel the world. During his journey, he found the woman of his dreams and decided to build a bamboo house right outside of Nepal. He came back to the islands to finish business and then Covid hit. He sadly had been stuck on the island since…waiting to see his wife and live the life that they started building with each other. He then asked us our story and we told him of our journey and how we were now on our third date change for our wedding. As he listened to our story, he stopped and said, can I sing a song for you? He began to sing the most amazing Hawaiian song about love and a blessing of marriage. We left the ten minute Uber ride in awe of the amazing person we just met. You never know who you will meet if you just open up and start listening to their story. An amazing journey from a man so passionate about life and love. Our hearts were filled that evening. 

Sadly my uncle passed away a couple of months ago. My fiancé’s family heard of the news and wanted to send flowers to my dad for the loss of his brother. As she ordered the flowers, the woman at the flower shop stopped her and said that she knew my father. She thought that he was an amazing man. She then started to tell the story of when she first moved to Newberry. Her car got stuck in the snow and she didn’t know what to do. Luckily my father was driving through and saw her struggling with the situation. He helped get her car out of the snow and welcomed her to town. She never forgot that experience. It stuck with her. 

We give and hope for a better life for the people around us. You just have no idea who you affect along the way. As you help a person carry their groceries to their car, sing a wedding blessing song in Hawaiian to strangers or just say hello, it matters. It matters to the person that you take the time to care about. You never know what they are going through at the time and the situation they are in. That’s why interacting with the people around you is so important in your life. It makes both people feel good. Imagine if everyone had a courageous story to tell or an experience that was memorable. Would we listen? Or would we move past without making an effort to learn from another person. People watch movies about people with courage or kind hearts, yet these people are all around us. Living and breathing, just waiting for a ear to tell their story to. The question is simple, will you listen? 

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I've lived several places in the United States. Born in Michigan, lived several years of my life in Florida and currently in California. I was enticed with travel from an early age. I've traveled around most states in the US and have ventured across Europe. As my love of travel continues, my passion grows deeper with learning about new cultures and what makes them unique. Travel with me as I gather my thoughts on travel and experience the world through my lens.

2 thoughts on “Talking to Strangers

  1. Chris, Your post resonates the importance of “listen” and also the sad effects that Covid-19 has on listening. Covid-19 hides our facial expressions by wearing a mask and demands social disconnection through social distances…….ALL a resounding MUST DO in order to get our social lives back together…which as humans we need. In the meantime we have social media channels….say what you may….Now more than ever we need them to enable us to “listen”.

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    1. That’s actually a very valid point heading into a very troubling winter. With things getting much worse, social media could have a greater good in this scenario if people can come together. We need to find every way possible to stay connected to a somewhat normal life. You make me question my thinking of unfriending Facebook in this current moment.

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