Stereotypes and Surprises

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My daughter and I were in the Salvation Army looking at clothes.  Minutes after we arrived, someone began playing the most beautiful music on a piano.  I assumed the store had hired someone to play while the rest of us shopped. Perhaps it would cause us to relax, stay longer, and spend more.  High-end stores used to do this, so why not the Salvation Army?

Entranced by the gorgeous music, I found myself on a few occasions just listening without shopping.  It was amazing.  I followed the music and soon realized the store hadn’t hired anyone to serenade us.  In fact, the piano being played was on the floor marked “Sold.” 

Applause erupted as soon as the musician finished.  I was so intrigued a shopper would sit down and play with such grace that I needed to see who it was.

I peered around the upright piano to find a shirtless, shoeless figure.  Holes littered his faded jeans that were obviously a size too small.  Oily, unkempt hair topped his head with a scraggly beard covering his face.  He definitely did not LOOK like someone capable of producing such amazing music.  But that’s exactly what he was doing.

He was in the middle of another fantastic piece, so I didn’t disturb him.  Instead, I returned to shopping, hoping to catch him when he was done to talk with him for a few minutes.  But following his next song, while everyone applauded, he snuck out.  Just like that the music was over and the musician gone. 

My daughter found me a few minutes later asking if I had seen who was playing.  I told her I had and it was a great reminder that we never know what talents a person holds.  Never would we have expected such beauty to come from the fingers of a homeless man.  

Imagine being a performer, searching for a pianist to complete your group.  In walks a shabby stranger like my mysterious musician.  How many of us would dismiss him immediately? 

Every day our stereotypes prevent us from seeing the talent and value in others; getting in the way of potential connections and collaborations that could change our lives.  

Each of us have talents and passions dying to be let out whether we know it or not.  Don’t let small prejudices get in the way of recognizing the passion in others.  Learn to look beyond the surface and discover the value inherent in us all.