August 25th, 2020
Every morning I walk to the corner store and buy a cup of coffee.
And every morning, the same guy is working there.
Every day, we have the same encounter:
- I walk in
- I ask: can I get a large cup of coffee with Splenda & milk?
- He pours the coffee and tells me the price
- I put my credit card in the chip reader and wait impatiently for it to be approved
- I say thanks and go on with my day
After many visits to the corner store, I realized I was being a robot.
On my 9th visit, I switched it up. I asked him his name.
The biggest smile came across his face, I could see it through his mask. He asked my name, and in that instant, I made a friend.
Every day, I learn a little about him and he learns a little about me. His name is Mohammed. He works every single day of the week, Monday through Sunday. He lives across the water in New Jersey. He takes the PATH to get to work. He is married.
Two years ago, I would have never done this. I would have gotten my cup of coffee and tunnel-visioned back to my laptop, thinking about work, thinking about how to be “efficient” with my time, only thinking about myself. Like a fucking robot.
This reminds me of something that happened last year in Vietnam. I went to the same coworking space every day. There was a girl who worked there and we would chat for a minute every day when I checked in.
Over a month went by, and one day she asked me out of the blue: “Do you even know my name...?”
I didn’t know her name!
I didn’t feel embarrassed, I just felt pathetic. I was too “busy” and in my own head at that time to even want to know her name…
Asking someone’s name shows you care about them, even in some tiny, minute way.
Besides being a decent human being, asking someone’s name keeps YOU curious, and remaining curious will give you everything you want in life.
Instead of the same coffee routine every morning, my small conversation with Mohammed starts my day off with a little dose of curiosity, which I carry into my next activity or endeavor, and the next. It keeps me on my toes.
Ask their name! Stay curious!!