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Parking Lot Salesmen

May 12, 2011

He approached me with confidence and a smile. “What’s your name?”

“Laura,” I said as I took a hesitant step back. I hate being accosted by sales people in parking lots – especially when it’s obvious that this is their first job EVER.

He stepped forward and thrust out his hand.

I took his hand only because I was with a friend and didn’t want her to think I was a snob.

“Fantastic shoes,” he said peering down at my feet.

He then turned to my friend. “What’s your name?”

Oh good grief, I thought. Could this guy be any more of a salesman? Still, he is happy. He’s a very happy salesman.

He was turning back to me. “It was nice to meet you. Have a gweat day, Wowa.” Then he turned and walked away from us while he sang a happy little tune to himself.

Immediately my opinion of this young man changed. He wasn’t a salesman at all; and that one word, “Wowa” refocused how I viewed him.

Wowa has been a term of endearment to me for many years. My brother Berkeley, who has Down Syndrome, has never been able to say Laura. The Ls and Rs are too difficult; so I became Wowa. A nephew and nieces altered it to Lowa, and soon many of my friends had picked up one or the other versions. For a few years, I was rarely called anything but Lowa or Wowa.

I watched the back of the young man’s head and sent up a silent prayer of thankfulness that I’d not refused his hand. How quickly I’d made an assumption about who he was.

Our entire interaction hadn’t lasted more than about eight seconds; and truthfully, I know little about him now except that he is what the world would call mentally slow, very friendly, and unmistakably happy.

Sometimes we forget that we aren’t God’s only special creation. I know; you feel like you’re more important to God than anyone else; but the truth is, God cares about all people. He may know how many hairs are on your head, but He also knows how many strands that girl we call weird has.

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30

If God cares enough about the people I think are weird to number the hair on their heads; He probably doesn’t want me referring to them as weird. Certainly I don’t want people calling the ones I love, “Weird.”

I’m not advising that you throw all caution to the wind when approached by strangers in parking lots; but as a society, we can be quick to judge people with very little information on which to base our conclusions. Unfortunately, when we do that, we tend to miss out on some of life’s greatest treasures.

After all, who wouldn’t want to hear that they have fantastic shoes and be told to have a “Gweat day?”

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2011 6:36 pm

    I love your stories. So simple and yet meaningful.

    • May 12, 2011 6:49 pm

      Thank you! Your words are music to a writer’s ear. Each time I write, I pray that somewhere, somehow my writing will have an impact – even if it is as simple as making someone smile.

  2. May 12, 2011 7:04 pm

    Gweat Post, Wowa!

    I say that with a happy tear in my eye because the of the love heaped on me by the incredible people who’ve called me Mah-wee through the years. Wonderful message, Laura.
    Thanks.

    • May 12, 2011 7:18 pm

      Thank you, my friend! Those of us who have had the privilege of working with people who are special to God’s heart have been blessed indeed. My brother, Berkeley, brings me joy every day. Much like the young man in my story, he carries a bit of sunshine around with him.

  3. emtgirl permalink
    May 13, 2011 8:38 am

    Yes, great post! Thanks for the reminder of God’s love for everyone. Keep writing!

    • May 13, 2011 12:11 pm

      Thank you! I find most amazing of all is that He loves me.

  4. May 15, 2011 7:42 pm

    “when we do that, we tend to miss out on some of life’s greatest treasures.”…may GOD give us eyes to see and ears to hear as He does…loved watching your perspective change in this encounter!

    • May 16, 2011 5:00 pm

      I loved that the young man’s only motive was to say something nice to somebody else. We should all be better at doing that!

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