It was a stupid week. Too much going on to even think about, much less write about. Everything was coming at me faster than I could understand. Get up, go to the gym, get dressed, try to accomplish as much as possible at work, errands and events after work, home, reset, repeat. It was a blur.
Finally, Friday. Dragging as I made it to work. The bell rings, another day begins. Hundreds of kids rolling in on the big yellow buses. All the drivers waiting for me to open the front door to the school. The seconds tick. Tasks are unfinished. Everyone looking for me to get it all going. I’m 30 seconds late. Just keep moving. Execute, execute, execute.
The whoosh of the cold hits me and I brace. Before I even get the doors propped open kids are flooding by, behind my back, at a full sprint. I feel like a jammed object in the middle of a flood. Getting in the way of progress as everything rushes by. I wish I could just let go and float along with them all.
But, instead I have to account for all the buses that have arrived and get everyone heading on their way to their next destination. Walk, look, check off, walk, look, check off. Not really in one of my bright, bubbly “good morning!” moods.
I get to the front bus, the daycare bus, and make a point to stop and say hello to Hector. An older man. He is always first in line. He is kind and affable. He made it a point to ask me my name about a month into school. He greets me by name every morning and asks me how I am. This day, on the Friday before Valentine’s, I wave and say “Hello, Hector!” before I’m turning to pivot and head back down the long row of buses. He calls to me by name and I walk back, sort of impatient. He’s standing at his bus door with a box of chocolates.
“Take two of your favorites,” he says, handing me a variety pack of Lindor truffles.
The productivity part of me says, I don’t have time for this right now. I’m holding up bus drivers who have schedules. Routes. Execute, execute, execute. But then he just talks to me about how much he likes seeing me every morning. How he enjoys our little chats. He wanted me to have something sweet for Valentine’s Day. He was in no rush, despite the masses of kids and tasks that were waiting on him. He looked me in the eyes, genuine. Sincere. I stopped and let those precious seconds sink in. I chose a red wrapper and a blue wrapper (IYKYK) and smiled, handing him back the box. Then he waved, put on his seat belt, and rolled out.
In my life’s flood of fakery and rushing to the next thing, Hector stopped time with this simple gesture. He reminded me how it is possible to just be present and sincere, and how much that means. In my rush to get things done, I miss so much. People don’t need 18 roses or a fireworks display. A simple gesture complete with sincerity can change someone’s whole day. What can you do to stop time and sincerely connect with someone else today?