Earlier this year my family went down to New Orleans for a short vacation. While there, I able to engage in a favorite past-time: people watching. “People watching” sounds much nicer than “creeping,” so I’ll stick with that.
Two guys captivated my attention while there. The first guy worked at the New Orleans Insectarium. He was in his late 20s, and he screamed ‘beatnik’ with his Shaggy-like beard. He looked like the guy who would hit the hippest coffee shop in town after work. Here’s my favorite part: his job at the Insectarium was to hold live roaches and let paying guests (like me) play with them and pet them. That’s what he did all day. He sat on a stool and played with roaches. Where was that job on Career Day in high school?
The second guy that captivated me was in the New Orleans Aquarium. While we were eating lunch in the Aquarium Food Court, he was sitting behind a portable hot dog stand, waiting to sell someone a hot dog. No one came. For the entire 45 minutes we ate lunch, no one came to his stand. So he just sat there, staring blankly into space, for 45 minutes. He was young, early 20s. He looked fit. If this is what he did all day, where did he find his purpose?
Have you ever encountered someone and tried to imagine what their life was like? Next time you see someone on the sidewalk, pay for gas, or have someone bag your food at the grocery store, try to imagine their life. What’s their story?
Your story is the sum total of your life experiences, your childhood, your difficult circumstances, your personality quirks that you inherited from your aunt, the twisting, winding road that brought you to where you are today. That’s your story. The question is, how many stories do we really know? If we don’t know someone’s story, we don’t know them.
Spend some time and find someone’s story this week. See what it does to you.
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