Thursday, January 13, 2011

missed opportunity

Tuesday night I ran into someone on the street I hadn't seen for several years.  We weren't friends or even associates--we had only met once.  But I remembered his name...Daniel.

He approached me with purpose.  I thought he looked familiar, but wasn't sure, and I wasn't really looking for conversation.  Undeterred, he interjected into my thoughts with, "Hi, can I ask you a question?"  "Of course, Daniel." was my reply as I shook his outstretched hand.  He looked shocked, and justifiably so.  As I said, we had only met once under unremarkable circumstances, and I am terrible with names.  Those two factors combined made my recall near miraculous.

"You remember?" he asked.  "Yeah, Daniel, I met you two years ago, and you said then that you had six months to live."  You see, when I met Daniel, he spun a well-rehearsed pitch about an inoperable brain tumor, etc.  In case it isn't clear, Daniel was working me, and he had every intention of trying again if he could.

"No, no, I never said it was inoperable.  I mean there was always the chance of remission."
"Awesome!  I'm really glad to see you doing so well!"
"Well, really I'm not..." and he proceeded to tell me about his current challenge.

Without doubt, Daniel has difficulties that a few dollars can't fix.  He happened to catch me at a time when I didn't even have that to give; so, I was little help to him that day.  As we parted company, he said, "...thanks for the warm reception."  It made me think.  I had welcomed him warmly.  I'd remembered his name (miraculous without doubt).  I'd shaken his hand in a friendly gesture, stopped, looked into his eyes, and spoken to him.  But then I fell short (smart mouth).  I missed my opportunity.  The air had changed because of my disrespect.  I didn't have any money on me, and I really didn't have much time, but I should have followed through treating him like "Daniel whose name is to be remembered" instead of "some guy trying to con me" even if he was trying to con me.  What threat is that to me?  And what would it have cost me?  Not much.

I hate missing opportunity.

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