The Joy of Connecting

The serious older man got out of the car in front of the San Jose hotel where I had just finished leading a Business Writing class and was heading out to my car. The beautiful matte black wheels on his Lexus caught my eye as I walked by.

On my way back into the hotel to get some water, I saw him standing with the two other men that arrived in that same car with the cool wheels. Even though he didn’t seem friendly and I wasn’t sure we even spoke the same language, I felt compelled to walk over and tell him that I liked the classy-looking, black wheels on his vehicle.

After I shared, all three men looked puzzled and started talking quickly with each other in another language. I mentioned the car wheels once again hoping to make some connection, when of them responded, “We don’t have a car here; we got dropped off by Uber.”

Then, we laughed together at the misunderstanding. I could have walked off but, instead, I engaged again.

I’d noticed that one of the younger fellows had a Nautica logo on his shirt, and then I saw that the older man had a Ralph Lauren Polo Horseman (RLPH) logo on his. I made a big deal of this and pointed to the RLPH logo on my own shirt.

We were smiling at that when the third gentleman got my attention and excitedly pointed to the RLPH logo on his shirt! And, we all laughed even more.

Again, I could have exited but as I started to leave, I couldn’t resist. I had to turn back.

I looked at the Nautica logo guy and said, “Hey! What’s the deal? Why don’t you have a Ralph shirt like the rest of us?” And we all laughed even more.

Anyway, I just want you to know that I get the biggest kick out of meeting people who are different from me and then finding common ground with them. Do I realize that such familiarity could cost me someday? Indeed. It has a few times already.

But, the joy of connecting far outweighs the risks and makes it all worthwhile it to me. It’s the joy of being with people.

Can you think of a time when you’ve “connected” with someone who is different from you? I’d love to read your story. Please reply and write to me.