A Swiss Breakfast

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After 7 hours, 4 countries, innumerable mountains and cliffs, thousands of signs that we could not read, and a very close call with fuel shortage; my wife and I arrived safely in Interlaken, Switzerland. It was our honeymoon, and we were touring parts of Europe by foot, plane, train, and at this particular time: a miniature smart-car that I’m sure was completely made out of plastic. Needless to say, we were pretty tuckered out after a long day of traveling and so went straight to an inn.

Nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Interlaken is literally a town “between two lakes”, as its name implies. A common stopover point for backpackers, hikers, and explorers from around the world; our hosts at the inn we were staying at were well accustomed to foreign travelers and spoke many languages.

Upon awaking in the morning, we were delighted to share an all-you-can-eat many-course breakfast with some of the other guests. As opposed to the evening before, our host this morning was the owner of the inn, a kind, older gentleman who did not speak an ounce of English. Despite not being able to communicate by voice with us, his outpouring of kindness and genuine acts of searching to provide us comfort were shown through his smiles, hand gestures, offers of food, and hospitality. I mean, this guy literally waited on us and all the other tables hand and foot, and he loved doing it!

I was struck by what a powerful lesson this was. How many people pass us daily that we struggle to communicate with? They might be from a different country, background, “social class”, or maybe we are shy, or they are anti-social. Do we go out of our way like the man serving us our Swiss breakfast?

I get it, we are all busy. Our days are filled with interaction and most of the time we just want to retract into our personal lives and cut out the rest of the world around us. Imagine for a second though, the positive impact you could have on another person, just from a kind word, gesture, or deed. Imagine if you will, if you were on the receiving end?

Today is the day to step up to that challenge! Go outside your comfort zone and greet someone you always avoid talking to. Smile to everyone you see. Find small ways to be kind to those you would usually walk past or ignore. And if you are one of those people not well understood, or constantly ignored, or even a bit shy, I can guarantee that it will come full circle!

Josh

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