It was a few weeks ago, I was buying lunch and lost in the sound of my music (headphones on) avoiding all eye-contact with these charity muggers (which I might suggest is also cockney rhyming slang, but that’s another story) and there he was.
All smiles and arms extended, trying to stop me in my tracks. His effort made me feel like anything other than polite would have been wrong (plus he was cute), so I stopped to listen to his spiel for a moment.
So I press stop on my iPod and try not to look too annoyed. He starts with the usual formula about how I can make a difference, and I am genuinely interested.
I respond with how I would love to be able to afford to, and he comes back with how it would only cost me such-and-such a month (which always annoys me, because these people have no idea what bills you have or whether you can even afford them the 5 minutes you’ve just given up) – and then it clicks!
He starts talking about how good he is at his job, and how many people he has signed up. More spiel I think, since he follows that with how, because he is successful at the job, sign-ups aren’t based on commission, and are purely for the greater good.
Sounded like a line, and a cheesy one (abit Spiderman-ey to be honest) but it should be the truth so I agree. Anyway, we talk for a bit and he asks me what I do for a living, before we actually get into the deets, he says that he actually is tired of his job. That he’d like to do something else.
I ask him why, and he says that it’s tiresome and boring standing in the street all day, that he doesn’t get to have proper conversations with people.
I understand. I ask him whether he would rather be behind a desk? What he would most like to do instead of that job? He responds he doesn’t know, and are they hiring where I work. This throws me, because – this is someone saving lives. Someone who says he’s one of the best at his job. Someone that does it not for money, but for the difference he is making. – Yet he wants out? He wants to work with me, a stranger?
I tell him, no job is perfect. I said that wherever he worked, he would feel that. He might love the job at first, be passionate even, but that soon wears away. Heck, I even told him that Van Gogh cut off his ear; and he is one of the most notable artists we know!
He laughs. I laugh too. He then shakes my hand, and thanks me for that piece of advice. We part ways and I have this nice warm feeling in my gut.
You think it’s because he thanked me? Because I made him smile? No, it’s because I kinda made my own day with that conversation. I realised that people everywhere feel the exact same at the exact same time, it just doesn’t always look that way. Even people making a difference feel like unsung heroes. But here’s the punchline…we are all making a difference even when we don’t know it.
I hope he keeps his job, because if he’s as good as he says so, he is very much needed there…