The other day, I met a sweet elderly patient who drives 4 hours to get her teeth cleaned. Granted, it’s kind of ridiculous. But her sweet smile and bubbly personality seem to make her life so easy.
She also had the curiosity of a mouse and asked me right away if those were hearing aids. “Yep!” I said. “How did you lose it?” “Why I was born this way.”
As I began her cleaning, she went on to tell me a story of her deaf uncle. He was so devoted to his country that he lied about his hearing loss to get into the military. He read lips so well that he fooled everyone. Until one day, they dropped coins on the floor to get everyone’s attention, everyone shook but HIM. He was unfortunately discharged immediately and got into a ton of trouble. Most people would do anything to not be drafted. He, however, is my kind of hero.
As I’m finishing up, the curiosity in her proceeds in asking more questions about my hearing loss and life. As I’m answering her, her bubbly personality seem to diminish and finally asked if it’s really okay to ask me all these questions. Feeling perplexed so I said to her, “Never be afraid to find the story in all of us”. Her smile grew bigger than I saw earlier in her appointment.
I challenge you all to sit down with someone who is alone at a cafeteria table at school, someone who may be quiet at a gym, someone who may be struggling with something at work, someone who seem to work harder than most people and ask about their story.
We can be your best friend and you can be our champion.