I am constantly amazed and even amused by things that I do not know. And things that I do not know that I do not know.
Several months ago, I was going with my boss T to a meeting with G. I love having T as a boss. He is a good guy, and I love working for him. So, when we got to G’s office, he opened the door for me and insisted that I take the one open seat. G was astounded at how chivalry was not dead, that my boss would hold open the door for his employee. She then told us a story from her home country.
An older lady boards the train that G is on. The train is packed, and the lady does not find a seat. She stands near another passenger, a younger man.
“In my country,” the lady says, “a young man would give up his seat for a lady.”
To which he replied, “In my country, we eat people your age.”
I nearly spit my water across the room. I never would have known what to have said to that.
I have a great respect for different viewpoints. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked several jobs where I was surrounded by a diverse, multicultural environment. I’ve worked with people from China, Japan, India, Turkey, Lebanon, Russia, Yugoslavia/Serbia, Thailand, Australia, Scotland, Argentina, Nigeria, Cameroon… just to name a few. What I always take pleasure in is knowing that we are far more alike than we are different. It amazes me how much I can learn from the lived experiences of others–all it takes is talking to them, and realizing what assumptions we have that might be false.
Including, apparently, perspective about sitting on a train.