Monday, March 28, 2011


A few days ago, my credit card got stuck in the parking pay machine on a street in downtown Seattle. I was annoyed and called the number on the machine, and was told I needed to wait in the rain for a person to arrive and fix it. Fifteen minutes later, a man shows up who looked to be of east-Asian descent. While I proceed to apologize and tell him how my credit card had since emerged from the machine before he got there, making his trip worthless, we strike up a conversation. I find out his name is Thomas, and that he moved to Seattle from Laos 30 years ago. He told me some amazing stories about his experience when the regime changed to communist, and how his family had to flee since his father was in politics and feared for his life. They had to start over completely in the USA. He told me about his kids and his wife, how they always tease him that he still has a thick accent, and about how much he loved the rain in Seattle. It struck me as I was listening in fascination how everyday people that come in and out of my life don’t have to be random if I can just slow down. Thomas ended up paying for my parking, telling me to feel free and call their fix-it number any time I was in the area (even if the machine wasn’t broken) because that was his area and he would be happy if he could see me again. Then we said goodbye. I don’t know if I will ever see him again. But, Thomas, thanks for the reminder that there is a larger world than me and my trivial inconveniences.

I hope my credit card gets stuck again soon. Who knows who I could meet?

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