Monday, July 28, 2014

"You Should Be On American Idol"

I was in Rhode Island last week waiting for my train back to Boston, only to have read the train schedule wrong. The next train leaving to Boston was at 10:40pm. I looked down at my watch. 9:22pm. A few minutes go by and I see a woman squinting her eyes at the same train schedule. She looks confused and starts to glance around her to see if anyone else was confused as well. Being the curious observer I am, I get up from my seat and ask her if she needs help. She was also boarding the train to Boston and was frustrated at how long of a wait it was going to be. We sat down together and I asked her, “What are you doing here in Rhode Island?” This sparked our hour long conversation.

This woman was not your typical Bostonian. Her name was Dominique and her face alone had the ability to convey a story. From my first impression, I had a feeling Dominique possessed many introverted characteristics. She was reserved, shy, but had a smile that could light up a room.   Dominique was from Ireland, 61 years of age, and was in the United States because her best friend’s brother had just passed away. Up until the train arrived, it was awesome to observe how we were able to engage in such a deep conversation. We talked about how her experience on leaving her family was the single biggest regret she had and how much she cherished and loved her children. We talked about our life ambitions, goals, struggles, and eventually shared funny stories from our childhood. The conversation we had was amazing and flowed like a calm river on a sunny day.

Having really enjoyed getting to know her, I asked if I could film her for a video project I was doing. I asked her: "If you had to give advice to a large group of people, what would it be?” This is how she responded.
The time hit 10:30pm and we made our way onto the track. She stopped me and said, “You should be on American Idol.”

I was a little perplexed. I was thinking to myself “… Me? On American Idol? I wouldn’t even get past the first round.” I told her, “I love to sing and I do it all the time but I’m not very good at it.” She replied, “You should just go up there and talk because the judges would love you so easily.”

That was the line that stuck with me the most out of our whole conversation. “You should just go up there and talk because the judges would love you so easily.”

Dominique opened up and said she had never really exposed herself to anyone before and if she ever had, it was only to close friends and family. When she met me, she said she was shocked halfway through our conversation because of how insightful and engaging our conversation was. Dominique said she had been feeling really lonely living by herself, but after talking to me, she felt like this conversation had filled the emptiness in her stomach and something finally made her happy.
As she was talking and almost in tears, I stood there and became speechless. All I could really do was smile. Just smile and listen. I was simply awestruck by her kindness. I could not even wrap my head over how a simple conversation could  possibly make all the difference in another person’s life.

I’ll never forget this moment and it might arguably be one of the best moments of my entire life. Thank you, Dominque, for your role in shaping my life and filling it with new perspectives. I am glad I was also able to positively impact yours.

This reinvigorates me as I plan to start up an organization on my college campus called Bridge the Gaps. We believe that everyone is so crazy and awesome in their own unique way and we want to bring people together to share their thoughts in an open & safe environment, build life-long connections, and gain new perspectives. If you are a student at San Jose State University or UC Santa Barbara and find the idea of diving deeper into people’s stories to be awesome, I hope you can join us on this journey in bridging the gaps between people. Please support our upcoming organization and stay updated with our social media feeds by following us on the links down below.