Bit players upon the stage

Sharing something I posted to Facebook a few weeks back, but I thought had a place here.

One morning as I walked into work from the parking lot I saw a strange mound of stuff propped against the wall of a building. It looked like a pile of garbage. As I watched, the pile shifted position and I saw it was a homeless man with his possessions piled all around him. He was on the other side of a chain link fence, but I asked if he was okay. He angrily waved me away and pulled his stuff back around him. When I came out later he was gone.

The next night when I arrived at a restaurant the hostess seemed a little down. I asked her how she was doing. She gave a quick reply and I think was a little surprised when I asked her more questions. I got her to laugh, and she said today not everyone had been so nice to her. I told her I’d be there for the next hour and to send anyone over to me that gave her grief. As we were leaving she gave me a big smile and said “Customer of the day!”

sonder, n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Sonder | The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows from John Koenig on Vimeo.

This is far from a new realization for me, but with those two encounters the difference really struck me between my two small roles in their lives.

And the roles they had in mine.