Sometimes the most beautiful stories from strangers can enhance your own relationships. The stories that a complete stranger will relate to you and no one else, can be little miracles in your life. People love to talk about themselves and share their stories. When you listen to them it really lifts their spirit! When that person sitting next to you says hello and tries to strike up a conversation…listen. You are stuck on that airplane, bus or train anyway right? There are so many wonderful things you can learn in order to help you expand your universe. Let me share one with you:
Dan, the Shoeshine Man
Visiting New Orleans for the first time was magical. I am not much for the partying scene. The history and the culture are what I am most interested in. Hearing the stories from the tour guides was intriguing but my most memorable experience was Dan. Dan was a homeless man. My husband and I were sitting outside the front of our hotel so my husband could enjoy a cigar. Up walked Dan. He asked if he could please shine our boots. He seemed harmless enough. We both had boots on and said yes. Dan pulled out a white cloth diaper and a little cup that had some kind of oil in it. He spit on his rag and dipped it into the oil. He started with my husband’s boots first. While he was shining his boots, he started telling my husband stories of the hurricane and what had happened to his family. We listened to every word. When he polished my boots, he told me stories of the ladies and where the best shopping and food are in New Orleans. At the end of the shining, my husband gave Mr. Dan some money. It was our most moving and wonderful experience there.
Knowing Dan the Shoeshine Man for just a few moments in my life is priceless. Think about that. Are there people you have met who have had that kind of impact on your life? That happens when we lose our fear and allow others into our world for just a moment. Each and every one of us has a story to tell but not always someone to tell it to. Move your world. Listen. Just that one act of kindness can change your world and their lives forever.
Be that person!