I have always been a people watcher. Not in an inappropriate way – I simply like to spend my time in a crowd noticing the details of that crowd. Whether sitting in my favorite coffee shop, strolling through a museum, or relaxing in a park, I keep my eyes open for interesting people. It might be the young musician on the street corner with tattoos, dreadlocks and incredible talent. Or maybe the clerk behind the cash register who offers me a refreshingly sincere smile and word of thanks along with my receipt. Everyone has a story behind their eyes, if you only take the time to notice.
I have met some of the kindest, most remarkable people simply because I’ve slowed down and taken notice instead of rushing through life focused on me and my agenda. In addition to getting to know some incredible people, I have reaped countless blessings because I took a little time out of my schedule to talk to a stranger.
I have dozens – even hundreds – of stories of random encounters that resulted in unlikely friendships. There’s the story of how a friendly conversation with a security guard led to a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of one of my favorite museums, and a story of how a spontaneous introduction at Starbucks resulted in an extremely rewarding working relationship that I couldn’t imagine missing out on.
Obviously a relationship doesn’t develop every time I talk to a stranger; sometimes these moments of “noticing” really only last a moment. But you never know the impact that one moment might have on someone else. Taking time to compliment a waitress on the excellent attitude and service she provided might just give her the spark she needed to keep going. The generous tip you dropped in a musician’s open guitar case might be the reminder they needed that they are worth something. The bit of encouragement you offered a young father at the park with his son might be just the thing he needed that day.
Take time to notice the incredible, diverse, talented, beautiful people around you. Reach out to others, deviate from your own agenda for a minute. I promise, it will be more rewarding than you can imagine!