On Monday morning we decided to go to Pike’s market before we left Seattle to return to Boise. The market was mellow and had a way different vibe than it did on Saturday and Sunday morning. After getting some macarons from a La Penier and a cup of coffee from the original Starbucks, we got in a shuttle to go back to the hotel and head home.
(Now I know my last post took place in an Uber, and this one happens in a hotel shuttle–but I guess that interesting moments just seem to take place through the medium of public transportation).
The shuttle driver asked us what we planned on doing for the rest of the day. We told him that we were going to be making an eight hour drive back to Boise, “Have you ever been to Boise?” one of the girls in the car asked him. “Ohhhh my word, yes! Plenty of times. I used to travel all over the place when I was working. I just do this shuttle gig to goof off now. But yes, I have been to Boise plenty of times!”
I asked him what he thought of Boise, and he said he liked it just fine. He didn’t say much after that and it felt like the conversation was dying. I didn’t really know what to say, so I grabbed on to the one thing I could think of and asked him what he used to do. I was expecting him to say that he was a business man or something like that–he had a confidence in his speech that made me think so. However, his response was far different than what I had expected him to say, “I was a rock-n-roller. I used to tour all over the place!”
Taken back and genuinely interested to know more, I asked him what band he was in and he shared with me that he was in several different bands: The waiters, Venturers, as well as Paul Revere and the Raiders. “Have you ever heard that song ‘Angel of the morning’?” he asked me. Immediately my mind went to the scene from the movie Charlie’s Angels with Drew Barrymore and “The Chad” and I knew exactly what song he was talking about!
I was so excited about the direction which this conversation had turned, and I pried a little more, “What’s your name? What instrument did you play? I’m going to look up your music!”
“Neil Rush. N-E-I-L-R-U-S-H. Saxophone…alto!”
I laughed when he told me this because my mind instantly went back to the fifth grade when I swore to my mom that if she would just let me play the saxophone, I would become the non-cartoon version of Lisa Simpson (which totally didn’t happen). The greatest thing that came from my failed attempt at playing the saxophone is that it has become comedic and somewhat whimsical story of my childhood.
Anyways, back to Neil. He was a fascinating man. He talked about every subject that came up with this authority–like he had studied it and knew about the topic inside out. He would point things out along the road and tell us about it with great detail, and then subtly draw back to our conversation about his career with music.
We pulled up to the hotel and he got out of the car to open the door for us. I got out, shook his hand, told him I would look into his music, and then wished him well. He smiled, told us girls to have a safe trip back home, and then got back into the shuttle.
I walked away from the car and was in pure amazement by the person I had just met. As I reflected on our short-lived conversation, I thought about how a simple question opened up the door to the extraordinary. In the moment, it felt risky to ask him about his life–but in the end it was absolutely worth it. This shuttle ride made me realize that incredible conversations and connections await us if we would only possess enough curiosity and courage to ask a simple question.
“Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 [Modern English Version]