Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Seeing People as Such

What do a Pacers staff member, a seed salesman and the waitress at your favorite restaurant have in common? We’ll discover the answer a little later.

Recently, my teammates and I traveled to Ft. Wayne, IN for the Ft. Wayne Farm Show. At the show, we were tasked with getting as many donations as possible for our annual benefit auction. To do this, our team split up into three groups, then began visiting company booths to seek donations. Luckily, some businesses had already been contacted and all we had to do was pick up the items. This may sound like it was an easy task, but it quickly became challenging. We went to our first booth and the employee gave us a very skeptical look. He then attempted to explain that we must be at the incorrect booth. We became a little frustrated and I began to see the people at each booth as an obstacle. Once we made it past these people, we had our donation and we were on to another company.

In ways, they were an obstacle, but as we continued our search for donations my perspective shifted. After time spent in conversation with various employees I realized that the people were not only real people with their own struggles, but also some of the most caring I had been around once I stopped seeing them as obstacles. Two of the most memorable people were two men that worked for a chocolate company. First, we just got a bag of popcorn as a donation. The simple donation evolved into conversation, regular free samples and nice breaks from frantically collecting donations. At the end of the show, I walked out scanning the faces of people that were once just strangers. Just objects. Now they were much more than that, they were great people.  
One the great people we met at Ft. Wayne Farm Show!
In life, it is easy to see the people around us as objects and obstacles. We wait in line and see the people before us as only an obstacle between us and our goal.  We get angry when traffic is stopped and it rarely crosses our mind that someone could have just lost their best friend because of the wreck we are stopped for. Our waitress may be doing an awful job, but we do not know what is on her mind.  

What do a Pacers staff member, a seed salesman and the waitress at your favorite restaurant have in common? They are all people and it is time that we start to see them as such. I encourage each of us to go through this week with an open mind. When we wait in line, instead of being bothered by those in front of us stop and think about what they are going through. Show the employees you encounter kindness, because no amount of kindness is wasted. It is time to start seeing people as such and appreciate what they offer.

Leah Jacobs
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Reporter

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