Saturday, February 5, 2011

When you really listen, people have great stories to tell

I have been blessed with the gift of listening.  My whole life, strangers have felt the need to tell me more information than I asked for.

A simple "Hi, how are you?" resulted in a cashier telling me about her 7 kids and how one of them is very ill.

But last week, a posting on Craigslist brought a really interesting man to my house.  We'll call him G.

G had answered my listing on Craigslist for free VHS movies.  He was the first to call, so he was the first in line to come and get them.  I did not imagine that 2.5 hours later I would know his whole life story, with such incredible intimacy, and I never dreamed my husband would be chummy with him.

While G browsed the movies and packed boxes, here's what I found out.


  • He lives not far from our house.  That night he was having dinner with his family at the in-laws'.  G and his brother-in-law do not get along, and his BIL was being a "goof" so G left the dinner to go home.  When he got home, he started cruising Craigslist and found the movies.
  • He grew up in Calgary and went to Queen Elizabeth Elementary.
  • His brother is an RCMP officer in the Yukon and he really wants G to join the force and move out there.
  • G just got laid off 2 weeks ago.
  • He has 3 kids and his wife is a SAHM.
  • He lives in a rancher.
  • He thinks maybe he would like to be a firefighter.
The list goes on.

But today, G is back at my house to pick up some more stuff.  And while he was here, another man showed up to buy the exercise bike we are selling.

G was kind enough to help the gentleman get the bike out of basement and into his truck.  In the process, he proceeded to talk about what has happened since we last saw him.

Today, we know that G
  • is 38 years old
  • got a 46-inch plasma TV and a pool table from Cragislist for free
  • his wife signed him up to be a volunteer firefighter
So here's where it really gets interesting.
"Really?" says the man with bike when he hears about the firefighting.
"Yeah, somewhere in Surrey", G says.
"Well, I'm a firefighter in Vancouver."

For a good fifteen minutes, I stood there listening to two complete strangers talk about firefighting.

What struck me was this random meeting between two men could possibly set G on a new course in his life.

And all because I posted something free on Craigslist.



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