Magnus has been headquartered in the same office since 1996. Over the years, we have had a variety of letter carriers, including some who were very nice and others, who were not so nice. I rarely see the letter carrier, due to the location of my office out of sight of our office’s entrance. Once in a while, however, I am the person in the office who greets the letter carrier upon his/her arrival with our daily mail. For many years, our letter carrier, who preferred to be called “the mailman,” was an older man who looked as if he had been a hippie in a previous life. On the few occasions when I saw him, we exchanged pleasantries and nothing more. One day, however, I was wearing one of my many Beatles t-shirts (our office attire is über casual) and, when I answered the knock at the front door, our mailman exclaimed, loudly, “You like The Beatles! I love The Beatles! I saw The Beatles in Shea Stadium!” I invited him inside our office, then inside my private office, to see some of the Beatles memorabilia I have collected. From then on, Magnus’ letter carrier, Michael, and I became friends. Any time he saw my car in the parking lot, he approached my window, and asked if he could come inside to talk about The Beatles. His knowledge of all things Beatles is as vast as mine and his favorite Beatle is John Lennon, who happens to be my favorite too. Although Michael has retired and has resumed the bohemian lifestyle he enjoyed prior to his decades working for the postal service, he continues to stop by to visit me anytime he is in our neighborhood. “Tomorrow never knows” where I will meet another Beatles fan!
It is easy in life to overlook others as we go about our daily business. But, one never knows where they will meet a friend or make a useful connection. Perhaps with the mailman, or the landscapers, or any other similar service provider, it is easy to ignore them as we go about being busy. But, everyone has a story and just as Melissa became friends with the mailman, she/we have become friends with our “landscaper” – of 25+ years! Especially in a work environment, it is sometimes difficult, uncomfortable, or seen as unimportant to get to know clients, co-workers, or those whose support work make things happen, while often going unseen. Even with our clients, it is easy to see them, in their suits and nice offices, as 1 dimensional. But we’ve learned so many amazing things about our clients over the years that reinforces the importance of getting to know people beyond the singular dimension in which one encounters them. A client of mine, when I was a working/professional photographer, has become a lifelong friend; someone with whom Melissa and I are planning an international (Beatles) adventure. All it takes is treating people as people, individuals, certainly not as servants, or as bosses, or in an impersonal, get the job done way. Showing respect for those you “outrank” and those who “outrank” you on some social hierarchy is always a positive thing. Relationships take time to grow, but being open to getting to know others beyond the uniforms or costumes (suits) they may wear on a daily basis can be worth a little time and effort. You just never know!