I arrived early at the car repair place so that my car could be serviced. There was a TV in the waiting room, but it wasn’t on. Great, I thought because I could get some writing done. Then a 70-year-old man who was also getting his car serviced walked into the waiting room. He spotted the TV and immediately turned it on. I didn’t want to watch the weather channel; I wanted to write in my journal. Fortunately, the man was called out of the waiting room to the counter. I immediately made an executive decision—I turned off the TV!
Settling back down to peace and quiet, I began journaling. Then the man returned. He glared at the blank TV then at me. Before he could pick up the remote, I told him that when I had moved to California 10 years ago, I decided against having a TV. It opened up my life because I turn to books and other people for stimulation. I got up out of my chair and offered my hand, “Hi, my name’s Leonard.”
After the introduction, Jim and I became the best of friends as we shared our views about politics, talked about our children, shared stories about how our grandparents migrated from Europe, talked about the changes we witnessed in our lives, and on and on it went—until Jim was called to retrieve his car.
When he left, I pondered our interaction. If he hadn’t turned on the TV, and if I hadn’t turned it off, we might never have had a connecting conversation. I’m grateful I reached out and offered a hand.
Reaching out and extending a hand to a stranger can bring unexpected rewards.