This morning, I got on the elevator at work and someone almost got crushed as he rushed in, while the doors were closing. We laughed. I hadn’t seen him before, and since he pushed one of the buttons for my company’s floors, I thought he must work for us. So I introduced myself and asked him if he worked with us. Since I’m not in the people part of HR anymore, I no longer know all the faces getting hired, and some of those faces quit before I ever get to meet them.
He said he was a contractor, but he had been with us since March. It gave me insight into just how many people come and go in our building that I never come into contact with. Strange. It’s not that big of a building. We chatted for a few brief moments before he got off.
Another guy had joined us a floor or two up, and it was clear from his uniform that he was some sort of service man. I asked him what project he was working on, and he told me. When he got off the elevator, I just had one more floor to go, but I was happy to connect with a couple of people I had never seen before and who I may never see again. I feel I did my part to help them start their days off with some cheery interaction.
Last night, my son and I were staring at a screensaver of an aerial view over London. I told him to look at all the little lights in the picture and imagine how many people were inside each of those rooms. We looked at the cars going over bridges and our minds were boggled as we contemplated the number of people there that we will never see in this lifetime.
We have such a limited scope of people around us. A small circle of those we know well. A slightly larger circle of those we know enough about to make small talk with. And there are the broader circles of people who we may cross paths with on a daily basis, but will never know…Maybe those who are in cars you recognize in traffic, or the delivery man you see dropping boxes off at a particular store.
Instead of burying our heads in our technology, or plainly ignoring those faces around us, we make such greater impact with a pleasant comment and a smile…a vague inquiry into that person’s life. It give that person a moment to respond likewise, and perhaps will give them a moment of encouragement that someone cared enough to ask about them.
DAY 327 HOMEWORK: I challenge you to pour into someone’s life tomorrow by making pleasant small talk, or asking them a question that could give them something to talk about. The second guy on the elevator wasn’t very pleasant, but it made me happy knowing that I could still bless his day. Try it yourself!