The Lost Magic of Human Connection

I am a poorly designed human, resulting in an injury that put me in a boot. I am a stubborn human and was hell bent on making it to a family wedding many states away. I am a privileged human so was able to fly, using wheelchair service through the terminals. I am an extroverted human, leading to this blog.

 Where is this going, you ask? The above prompted a fascinating conversation with the man, Arnab, that helped me with the wheelchair in the Detroit airport (thank goodness it wasn’t O’Hare, because O’Hare is icky, am I right?!).

The players:

  • Me: US born, Wisconsin dweller
  • Arnab: Bangladesh born, Michigan dweller

The discoveries:

  • Most people Arnab helped with a wheelchair didn’t chat with him. We stumbled into this topic when I asked what he liked and didn’t like about his job. He shared that he really enjoyed the travelers that treated him as an interesting person, a person with ideas and a point of view. 99% didn’t do that. 99% sat down, then immediately stared at their phone. These people missed out on an experience with very engaging Arnab.
  • This led us to talk about communities. The area in Bangladesh where Arnab grew up is very densely populated, with people living in very close proximity to each other. If you’re a suburbanite like me, you might think “ugh.” But my conversation illuminated something very different. This Bangladesh community created its own sense of family. They couldn’t avoid each other, so they came to love each other. They were meshed in each other’s lives. Arnab said he had a never-ending support system there, and was looking forward to going back for a visit and reconnecting.
  • In Detroit, Arnab felt his neighbors didn’t engage with him. He hoped it wasn’t because of racism, but he wasn’t sure. He had been trying to prep his fiancé, soon coming from Bangladesh,  for a very different community experience, knowing that they weren’t likely to make a circle of friends from people living nearby. He wished a few people would seem open to conversation. But he was hesitant to make the outreach for fear of encountering racism.

The point of this story? To be good marketers, and good people, we must hear other’s stories. We must ask questions that matter. So make that first welcoming gesture, create that initial dialogue. Heads up from our phones, friends. Let’s engage with the world.

If you’d like to uncover the stories of your consumers, make that first welcoming gesture to us here at Fountainhead. We’ll respond in kind.