Shinju Dojo Aikido Martial Arts School
Making Friends with Strangers
by Heather Gawlick
During a recent trip, I took a shuttle from the airport to my destination. I asked the driver if he wanted me in the front seat to keep him company during the hour and a half drive. He looked happily surprised and said, "Yes!"
We struck up a conversation about nothing in particular but made each other laugh. Laughing made the gridlock traffic disappear and turned the ride into a short one. I made sure to arrange for the same driver on the way back to the airport and we had just as much fun. I felt like I had made a lifelong friend in our accidental meeting.
My husband's grandfather was always making friends with anyone he met. He only spoke German, but he never let a silly thing like a language barrier get in the way of making a new friend. My husband's family were always finding him carrying on and sharing a laugh when neither party had any idea what the other one was saying.
My grandfather was like that. Once when I was a child, he was taking me to the playground when he met an old World War I soldier. My grandfather had served in World War II. I was in awe listening to them swap tales. My grandfather couldn't believe I wasn't playing at the playground. There was no way I was going to waste time playing when I could listen to those two trade stories. I knew this was a once in a lifetime conversation and I will always cherish the memory.
Part of the reason I enjoy going to aikido seminars so much is because it gives me a chance to meet new people from all walks of life that I would never otherwise have a chance to meet. Doctors, lawyers, janitors, unemployed people, FBI agents, and mafia members have all been in the same room at the same time enjoying each other's company.
People enrich our lives. It matters not if they are the dishwasher or the president. Take some time to listen and share stories with a stranger. You never know what gems are awaiting you!
Heather and Roy Gawlick love Aikido and have a passion for sharing it with others. They hope you'll catch the Aikido bug, too!