Ever noticed how differently you feel about the people in front of you in a queue and the treatment you’d like to receive?
I know it’s wrong, but sitting in the barber’s shop today, I was quite keen for the barber to get through the two customers in front of me as quickly as possible but I certainly didn’t want him to do a rush job on my hair. Of course it’s been a while since anyone has had to take too much time over my hair anyway. There’s less of it every week.
Something very interesting happened in that barber’s shop today. The sole operator finished the first of the two guys ahead of me and then got started on the next. It was only towards the end of the second haircut that the first bloke wandered back in and handed the barber some money before heading off again. I figured he was a friend of the barber and was settling his account.
Ding ding. The alarm bells started to ring. I looked towards the cash register and sure enough, no card facilities visible, and I had no cash on me whatsoever. Well, actually, I had eighty cents in twenty cent pieces but that would have bought me roughly about thirty eight seconds in the barber’s chair. I got up and said, “Excuse me. Do you take cards here?” I guess I already knew the answer and I was ready to dash out to find a teller machine. “No … ” said the barber, ” … we only take cash but you can get some money after your haircut.”
I’d never set foot inside that barber shop before and the barber wouldn’t know me if he tripped over me, yet he was prepared to cut my hair and let me walk out of his shop without seeing any return. He was trusting a complete stranger and I suppose the guy who came back with money earlier was in the same boat. I wonder how many people this young guy trusts each day to head out after their haircut and return with some cash.
I’m sure you know that I quickly visited the local teller machine after the barber had finished snipping and headed back with my payment. I was never tempted to do anything else.
How incredibly refreshing. It felt good to be trusted. Trust isn’t something that too many people are offering these days.
Can you remember a time when you surprised by trust?
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I remember meeting a girl at a Christian camp while I was at uni (who is now one of my really good friends) who shared very deep and personal details of her life with me during our first ever conversation. I don’t find that sort of thing intimidating and was happy to listen, but I remember feeling concerned for her, that she might be sharing this stuff with people who could betray her trust.
Quite a few years ago a person I just barely knew invited me to join his spot at a monthly swap meet. We decided to just join our stuff and split 50/50 rather than to try to keep our stuff separate. He had the storage space, a truck and the swap meet slot and I had the resources to get free stuff that businesses would otherwise throw away.
Our first swap meet was going real well, quite busy, and we both had a pocketful of cash from selling items that were, except for the time picking it up was literally free. He decided to take a walk around the site. He told me his intentions and reached into his pocket and handed me a wad of cash saying that it would be less temptation to spend money and buy something he really didn’t need if it was in my pocket rather than his.
I started to protest his handing me so much cash without an accounting and he said, “If we are going to be partners we are going to have to trust one another.” and off he went. (Turned out it was about $400)
Since then we spent many years as partners and although we no longer do the swap meets we are still best of friends. Our accounting practices were rather crude and it would be impossible to say who came out ahead monetarily but we are both winners in the game of life.