Garret: I was sitting at my desk when I heard a happy knock at the door. “Dum-dum-dada-dum.”
No idea who it could be at 1pm on a Saturday. I opened the door, and saw a woman, casually dressed: green t-shirt, jeans, red, freshly curled hair and a soft, warm smile.
“Hi. We are going around the neighborhood giving away free samples to the woman of the house. Is she around?” Holding a bottle of Dawn dish washing soap.
“Um…She’s out until the afternoon. Do you want to leave it for her?” I said.
“That’s okay. I’ll try back a little later. Thank you.”
There was no pushiness, no fancy sales tactics, only a vulnerable human being who had, I would guess, grown used to getting turned down and having doors slammed in her face. She walked away, I walked back upstairs, then it hit me: all the past memories of when I had to go door to door.
I grabbed a book, put on my shoes and went to track her down. She had just finished another unsuccessful visit to the house next door and was almost to her car.
“Excuse me, miss,” I said. “I really respect what you’re doing. It’s a tough job, knocking on random people’s doors. I used to do it too.”
She stopped in the middle of the street. Same warm smile. “Really? What did you do?”
“I used to go door to door selling a book that I’d written. It was a good experience. Not easy though. I met a lot of rude people.”
“Yeah, that happens to me too. But some people are really nice. And I probably wouldn’t have ever met them, if I didn’t knock on their door.”
I’d nearly forgotten why I had tracked her down in the first place. My intent was to build her up, through empathy and explaining how I had once walked in similar shoes, but her positive outlook seemed as though she didn’t need to be built up. If anything, she’d empathized with my attempted empathy.
“Absolutely,” I said. “That’s the best way to look at it. I love meeting new people…” Remembering why I’d stopped her, I continued, “I have a gift for you. It’s a book about meeting random people and connecting with strangers.” I placed it in her hands.
“Oh, wow.” She flipped through the pages, and stared into the back cover drawing.
“The idea is to keep the book in circulation and give it away to people you meet.”
“So cool. I can’t wait to read it.”
We stood in silence for long moment. Another person had been waiting for her in the car this entire time. “I don’t want to hold you up. Good luck with the rest of your day.”
“Thank you very much. You made my day.”
We started to walk backwards, unblocking the street. “Oh, I forgot to ask your name.”
“Nice to meet you, Jessica. I’m Garret.”