Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone new and your first impression is; “I know you”?

Of course you figure this can’t be so due to different lifestyles, geographical locations and timelines. But still he or she seems so familiar, like a long lost family member. You instantly click and are so happy to see him or her.

It happens to me from time to time.

So lets say it’s early morning and you have already been up and about for some time. You feel fresh and alive and in a good mood. 

You suspect it’s not all just because of having had a good night’s sleep and being well fed, although those things do influence your disposition. It’s more of a self induced happiness for experiencing a bright day, a calm environment and a peaceful life.

You decide to go to your neighborhood store for a newspaper and a couple of other items you deem necessary for your daily living. 

You leave your car at home for a change. You walk along a few blocks in the morning sunlight. Traffic is light. A group of kids are trudging off to school. In the distance a couple of dogs are barking back and forth at each other. Life goes on as usual in this town.

After reaching the store you find the items you seek and decide to pour a cup of coffee from the dispenser. The store is quiet and the proprietor is just standing around looking bored. 

You strike up a conversation with him and he perks up. He seems eager to chat and to be enjoying the small talk. 

The conversation, the words, smiles and gestures are like little sparks of energy particles between you and him. You realize what a pleasant fellow he is and that you quite like him. There is a tinge of recognition or memory of  perhaps having previously met. Could it have been another time another place long ago?

Of course you don’t mention this as you figure it would not make sense or have meaning for him. Both of you just continue to discuss sports, weather and such.

Surprisingly you feel you are able to somehow glimpse his lifestyle, intention and viewpoint through his eyes.

He tells you that being a storekeeper is not all about selling products and making money. He says it’s more like serving people and supplying the goods they need and want for their every day living. He tells you he has made a lot of good friends. 

You feel his statement is genuine and not just a sales pitch.

You decide to push a little deeper and ask him “What puts joy in your life”? 

He pauses thinking, then a big smile brightens his face. He replies it’s the time he spends with his wife and kids at the end of the day. His eyes are shining as he describes his two lovely girls and one little boy. 

He shows you pictures of pretty faces. Bright sparkling eyes of children laughing and enjoying life beam at you. You view pictures of his pretty wife and proud family. You sense their joy and almost feel it. You are happy for him and for them.

You congratulate him for being a good businessman, husband and father. You ask about his future plans for his family and business. He has many, many plans, hopes, asperations and dreams. 

You promise to be a regular customer from now on and to stay in touch. He is very glad and is looking forward for you to meet his family. 

You finish your coffee as another customer enters the store wanting cigarettes. You shake the shopkeeper’s hand and wish him success.

You depart the store knowing you have made a new friend - Or could it be you have reconnected with an old one?

Dan O’Connor can be reached at danhughoconnor@gmail.com