Always, always, A-L-W-A-Y-S be gracious, and if you can’t then at least be brief and kind.
However, I strongly feel that if you are gracious and genuinely interested in people, you give yourself a much better chance of meeting fascinating and wonderful humans that will teach you important and poignant lessons.
I have met and re-met some wonderful people while traveling around the country over the past few weeks.
The story I want to share briefly is about a slightly scruffy, bushy bearded, one-eyed man.
We are in Christchurch.
Steve and Nick went to a gathering at Duncan and Thea’s seriously sustainable and super fabulous house in Tai Tapu. This couple is gorgeous, and funny, and warm and really walking the talk of sustainability. It was humbling to see how much they do and realize how much more I could be doing.
So at this point I am absolutely knackered, but I have to eat so I arranged to have everyone meet at the local pub for a quick bite so I could go to bed early after I unsuccessfully attempted to have a nap earlier in the day.
While we were waiting for our food to arrive, a little old man rocked up to the table.
He was in a stripy polo shirt and dress pants that you could tell had been worn in a workshop or whilst tinkering with engines or wood or something.
His hands were knobbly and he had whisps of silver hair on his head and a bushy salt and pepper beard.
He stopped when he saw the Tesla, as he’d been attempting to make it to the catch up at our friends’ farm earlier that day, but got quite lost.
I took him for a ride and he started to tell me a bit about himself.
He is a genius. A dottery, sweet, kind, eccentric, beautiful GENIUS!
He makes musical instruments, he was responsible for the NEEV truck (which was full electric and way ahead of its time), he has raised his own children and a number of adopted and fostered children as well.
He is kind, sweet, brilliant and delectably different.
So many people might have dismissed him if he had approached them and interrupted their dinner, and I am so unreservedly relieved I did not.
He joined us for a cup of tea and some pudding while we had our dinners. I chatted at length to him about his children, and foster children and his many instruments and inventions.
His name is Kay. And he is richer than most in experience, warmth and intellect. He called it a “picture memory” for electronics and engineering.
Beyond his staggering smarts, I was blown away by his kindness. His warmth came through in his many stories. This man has lived so many lifetimes and touched so many people. He is not an eccentric millionaire type, he’s been broken down and reduced to the bare necessities of life time and again, yet he remains full of joy and positivity.
Taking him for a spin in the Tesla and having him join us for dinner left him buzzing. Meeting him left me humbled and gave me plenty of food for thought.
So the only thing I want to leave you with today is this:
Everyone has a story. You will be the one that benefits if you take the time to listen to someone who wants to tell you theirs.
I look very forward to being in touch with Kay and am so pleased he enjoyed his time with us last night, as we all very much enjoyed meeting him.