I answered a phone call when I was working at the salon yesterday. On the other end of the phone was this sweet sounding older woman, maybe in her 60s or 70s. Anyway, she wanted to make an appointment for a blow dry and she insisted that I book her with a master stylist who would make her look incredibly beautiful. Before we hung up, she asked for my name and thanked me for all of my help.
Today this same woman comes into the salon for her blow dry appointment. When I greeted her, she immediately walked up to the desk and (surprisingly knowing my name) said “Hi Amy!” and then introduced herself, extending her arm for a hand shake, and reminding of who she was and that she was here for her appointment. I offered her a drink and a place to sit down while she waited. She asked me if I wouldn’t mind bringing her a cup of hot water and a tissue. It was such a strange request, that’s why I remember it. I had only shared 30 seconds with this woman and I already knew that I liked her. When I came back with her cup of hot water and tissue, she was smiling and so grateful, saying “oh! thank you so much, sweetheart.”
Lately at work there have been some computer problems (ie our computer will freeze or the system will crash). So it would happen that while I’m ringing up this woman, the computer freezes right after I swipe the card. I think the universe was trying to show me the secretly incredible in this person. It wasn’t until that very moment that I realized she was. Secretly incredible, that is.
She must have been in her mid sixties and she was wearing fingernail polish that I would wear. It was red and sparkly. I think my friend Shae has one similar called ‘ruby slippers.’ I complimented this woman on her adorable nail polish and we started talking. “Oh, it’s my husband’s birthday so I thought I’d pick a fun color so I can flirt with him a little,” she said. She told me my eyes were so pretty, complimented one of my co-workers on her looks. The verbal affirmations were flying around.
Since she had previously mentioned that her hotel referred her to our salon, I asked her where she was visiting from. She said “South Africa.” We continued talking for a while (after all, the system was still frozen, so there was much time) She told me she was an emergency triage doctor and insisted “It’s the only thing I’m good at. It’s the only thing I know how to do.” Laughing at herself a little. She was so humble. We continued talking and I learned that she works in hospitals in South Africa, Nigeria, and with southern Sudanese refugees. This woman is an emergency triage doctor in all these places? This woman, who was so nice and so sweet, yet wore this sassy red sparkly fingernail polish and was very particular about her hair, a woman that any one of us wouldn’t have given a second glance at, was the most secretly incredible person I think I’ve ever met. I think the lesson in this is pay attention to the people around you.
I thanked her for her sacrifice and commended her on what she is doing. I told her she was incredibly inspiring. She simply replied again “It’s the only thing I’m good at.”