Inspired By Conversations with Strangers


About a year ago, I scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor because I couldn’t read small letters anymore and I noticed I had issues with reading things at a distance too. The appointment was supposed to last an hour but I ended up staying there for over 3 hours. Since I hadn’t ever seen an eye doctor before and they wanted to do more than a routine exam on me, I had to sit around and wait for a while. In the past, I would have been impatient and irritated but I enjoyed every minute of my time in that office. I had conversations with strangers that inspired me

When I first sat down in the waiting room, I observed a lady in her late 50s being pushed into the office in a wheelchair. She was wheeled over right in front of me to wait for her appointment and I said, “You ride in style. I like it.” Then, we struck up a conversation and I told her I have Multiple Sclerosis and I’m used to being pushed in a wheelchair too. She said, “Most people think I have MS but I actually have Muscular Dystrophy. It has affected me so much that I don’t have any core strength at all and I have very little strength in my arms and legs.” I was inspired by her because even though she had very limited mobility and was dependent on others to get around, she was still sporting a smile and a positive attitude. I told her that I had just bought a card for someone that said, “The only abs I have are abnormalities” and she laughed and said, “That’s great! Do you mind if I use that line?”

After my eyes had been dilated and I was sitting in a waiting room, I noticed a man in his late 60s accompanying an older lady in her 80s in a wheelchair. He intrigued me because one of the people in the office came over and told him he was awesome and told the lady in the wheelchair that she was in great hands. I wanted to talk to him but I was already involved in conversation with 2 other ladies whose eyes had also been dilated. We were all laughing at the irony of being surrounded by so many magazines that none of us could enjoy because our vision was so blurry from the eye drops. After surviving 3 hours in the eye doctor’s office, I was finally done and on my way out of the office when the “awesome” man who had intrigued me came over to talk to me. He said, “I love your smile. I saw you talking with 2 ladies like you had known them all your life. It’s nice to know that there are still good people in this world who can smile and carry on a conversation.” Then, I said, “I am so grateful that you stopped me because I wanted to talk to you after I heard someone say you were awesome.” He went on to say, “I have noticed that the world has changed and that people don’t talk to each other face to face anymore.” I responded by saying, “I believe that technology has changed our world and the art of conversation is dying. It’s sad that two people can be sitting right next to each other and they are texting instead of talking. I’m only 45 years old but the young kids these days make me feel like an old fart. I am technology ignorant and know nothing about Twitter or Instagram.” Next, he said, “The advances in technology have been fantastic for saving lives but those cell phones can really challenge the family dynamic. I used to have dinner with my wife and kids every night at the dinner table and we would talk about our days and have great conversations. Now, when I’m with my grandson, he doesn’t want to talk to me; he wants to play with his phone and when he is at home with his parents, they let him go off and do his own thing. I won’t tell them what to do but when my grandson is with me, I make him put his phone away and we talk. The funny thing is when he goes home, he tells his parents that I made him have conversations again (like it’s a punishment.)” Then, he told me to keep smiling and that I should definitely follow my dream to be a motivational speaker.

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