You know those moments in your life that you cant really describe to anyone how much they changed you? Those moments that you just know you will remember forever…and the feeling you had while you were in them? I had one of those moments yesterday at work. I will try to explain the best I can what happened and how I felt.
I work at lululemon athletica and my job is to educate customers on our clothing. We do not sell stuff, we honestly try to establish relationships with the people that walk through our doors. I have been working there for 7 months now, and the people I have met are inspiring. We have tri-athletes, success stories from the Biggest Loser, world class athletes, and every day heroes walk into the store. Out of the thousands of people that I have met, there was one man that changed it all for me.
There was this man walking around the men’s section, looking at stuff and taking things off the shelves to try on. He was completely normal, nothing really special about him, just another person that walked through the door. One of my coworkers walked over to him and said hi and if he was doing alright, and after a couple of seconds she turned away. I saw him put his hands up to his ears and shake his head from side to side. I walked around to see what was up and to get a good look at him because I found that interaction awfully strange, and went back to standing where I once was. I knew. I let my thoughts swarm around in my head for a second. I knew he was deaf. ‘How am I going to educate someone on how cool/functional our clothing is when they can’t hear? Should I even try…he looks like hese doing just fine. This is going to be so hard. This is a little scary actually.’ I stood there in a moral dilemma for about 10 seconds…and then remembered my motto. We must do the thing that scares us the most. I went right up to him, said hello, he put his hands up to his ears and shook his head from side to side, I smiled and gave him a thumbs up and gave him a hand signal that I was going to help him. I wasn’t going to make his inability to hear a reason or excuse for me not doing the best I possibly could. I told my coworker to help everyone else, and I went to work. We literally walked around the entire section, me explaining every single piece of clothing to him and its function / what it is for, and coming up with creative ways to describe things. How the hell do you describe “anti-bacterial silverescent thread” in a shirt? Run in place…smelled your armpits…shake your head back and forth and make a cross with your arms signaling no. Wicking / fast drying material? I poured water on my shirt and showed him how fast it would dry by timing it on my watch and showing him how many minutes it took by holding up fingers. After 10 minutes, I had him laughing. Not only could he not hear, he couldn’t speak either. But by the time I figured that out we were having such a good time it didn’t matter. We were speaking volumes without actually talking. We went through everything…I learned that he already had some of our stuff and what his favorite things were. He eventually came up to the counter after trying on some things. He had the biggest smile on his face and we continued to communicate. He bought my favorite pair of boxers that are spray painted crazy colors and I hugged them and he almost lost it with laughter. After everything was all paid for, I bagged it all up, handed him his bag, and we put out hands out and shook them.
I just stood there smiling. The 20 minutes that I spent with this man who was perfectly normal just like you and me, but just couldn’t hear the world influenced me in ways I am still not sure yet how to describe. This moment changed a part of me. I cant really explain it besides saying that it just made me feel happy and whole on the inside. That man knows that there is someone at that store who he can depend on every time.
Doing one thing a day that scares you is important. The prospect of doing something I have never done before was scary. I have never tried to communicate with someone who was deaf because of the language barrier. But I challenged myself and ended up having an experience of a lifetime. I would have regretted not doing what I had done. A lot of the time in our lives our inspiration to work as hard as we can and do our best is like a perishable food item. But its these moments, the one that I had yesterday in the store, that light a fire in my heart again.
Not many people know this about me, but I do remember and pay attention to mostly everything. I am more perceptive than you probably think I am. I am always listening, always watching, always thinking about things. Rarely do I miss something…a feeling or an emotion. There are lots of times in my life where I find myself sitting on benches just like in this picture alone thinking and pondering about things. I wonder if I was a philosopher in my past life. Yeah, it definitely keeps me up at night sometimes, but I rather have it that way and care too much then not care at all. Ever since I was little I was blessed with seeing the best in people and trusting them. This is a great thing, but it also has been taken advantage of by some. I have to choose though between shying away from the person I really am and not getting hurt, or by continuing to put myself out there and really just trust that God will protect me in the end. I choose to trust because there is no point in living this life without the people who you love. There have been a few situations in the past couple weeks where for the first time I can actually start to see how I have been growing over the past few months. I am responding differently, I am much more happy with just being alone and being me, and I am back to going out of my way for other people. This is the person I am. I will go to the ends of the Earth for the people I care about. If my sister needed me in Africa right now, I wouldn’t hesitate. If I couldn’t afford the flight, I would get a rowboat and head across the Atlantic. Don’t test me on this one sis. There was something about the deaf man that I met yesterday. Just as he wasn’t expecting to have the experience he did when he walked through our doors, I wasn’t expecting for him to make as much of an impact on me than he did. I will never forget that man, and hopefully, one day, he will walk through the doors again…and we can have a discussion in complete silence.