#203: Hidden Friendship in Strangers
Monday, January 18, 2010
Today I did work for an organization that required me to stop by businesses to pick up promised pledges. Only one of the companies I went to was one I was familiar with and had actually been a customer of.
But, as I talked with the business owners, managers and staff and, at one store, a customer, I quickly realized that meeting new people under non-stressful conditions was something I have missed since I've been writing out of my home.
There's a lot to be said of the kindness of strangers. Their support of the FOP's activities that include helping impoverished children, crime victims, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, sponsorships of various youth soccer, baseball, softball and football teams, support for law officers injured in the line of duty, Easter Seals, and other activities is gratifying and should be applauded.
It was their friendliness, however, that sticks out in my mind.
I learned about China's residential structure and government support of employees. I learned about a stuffed potato filled with pecans, cheese, meat and other items that looked and smelled delicious that I'll try in a couple of weeks. I consoled an owner whose business was burglarized a week ago. I discovered a neighborhood bakery and restaurant I never knew existed.
I could go on but all in all it was an afternoon sprinkled with strangers, now friends, I will go out of my way to visit again.
How do you deal with those who run the businesses you patronize? Do you take time to ask them about their business and their culture?
If not, I suggest that you are missing out on valuable contacts and interesting people.
The next time you shop why not take a moment and ask the staff, "How are you doing? How's business? How long has your business been here?" The stories will entertain and educate and show that real people exist behind the facade of "employee" or "manager" or "owner."
Real people you may wish to talk with again, and again.
Perhaps you'll even be tempted to try a stuffed potato.