My husband’s a bit of a jackass at times, and he approves of that statement.
Even 45-years later, his antics still bring a smile to my face because I know his heart and intention. This is the way he connects and tries to bring happiness to the important people who make our everyday lives possible.
I was reminded again of the importance of his caring acts of “jackassery” on a visit to a local store. As usual, approaching the clerk I could see his mental-cogs turning, trying to figure out how to lighten the moment and connect with Roxanne, our clerk that day.
He certainly had a tough customer in Roxanne, as her eyes were downcast and her face very somber. She seemed a thousand miles away as she pulled the items across the scanner. This didn’t deter him and he seemed to enjoy the challenge.
Concerned about the lengths to which he might go, I leaned over and whispered, “Roxanne, he’s a jackass you know, and he’s not going to stop until you smile.”
As her eyes met mine, she took a big breath, her face lightened as she started to smile. She paused and explained her experience of being a clerk.
It touched my heart as she told me of the daily challenge of being invisible to people as she serves them, reflecting she only becomes visible to them when they have a complaint. Roxanne said it was draining and dehumanizing. It robbed her of joy and happiness, and was exhausting
I was reminded about a great truth I’ve learned—when we dehumanize others, we also dehumanize ourselves, and we lose something important.
Through seeing and connecting with the unique humanity in the people in our everyday lives we can experience a depth of connection even in the most casual experiences.
People are not simply a means to an end, faceless bodies to serve us. Each person is a unique individual with a story, a family and concerns of their own. Our every day lives suddenly become populated with meaningful people instead of faceless others.
I learned an important lesson a long time ago that changed the way I show up in life.
Many years ago, I was blessed to meet a special woman who shared my unusual first name, which made me feel an instant connection to her. Interestingly, I soon realized I wasn’t the only one who felt connected with her. Everyone seemed uplifted by even a few minutes with this special lady, and I’ve written about her before.
Corinne Armour lived her entire life working in a grocery store in Trail, B.C. Coming from the big city of Calgary, I found it strange when people would line up at her till, even when other lines were empty. It made no sense to me, until I experienced her.
Despite the long lineups at her cash register, she was never too busy to warmly greet each person and ask a few questions. I felt seen and important, as I’m certain everyone did. Soon, I was also lining up at Corinne’s till, pleased to wait, just to have a few moments to say hello, as I paid for my groceries.
I always felt something special happened. Grocery shopping took on new meaning. Crazy, hey?
Everyone loved her. Everyone in town knew her name. She worked at a grocery store. When Corinne was killed in a tragic car accident, her funeral was held in the largest venue possible. Even then, people spilled into the streets.
Everyone came to pay tribute to this woman who worked at, what some might consider, a simple job. The magic was her. The magic is you. What matters most is you and the way you do what you do.
Over the years, we’ve forged surprisingly deep connections with many so-called service-people in our lives. We make a point of learning their names and feel privileged to hear a bit of their story and life experience. There’s nothing more joyful for us than walking into a store or restaurant and seeing people’s faces light up as we greet them.
These simple acts of connection have added such value and depth to our lives, and hopefully to those whose lives we’ve touched; it feels like community and it feels rich.
It’s the personal factor, the way we each show up that makes what we do special. This is what touches people. What’s essential is taking the opportunities for human connection in our everyday lives.
I believe we left Roxanne better then we found her, and that matters.
Remember, in a world that is short-staffed, be kind to those who show up.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.