The other day there was a scenario where a person seemed lost and I was just standing there while waiting for the bus. He first asks the guy next to me if he had a phone on him. Without hesitation the guy’s answer was that he does but it’s charging. He essentially made the assumption it seems that the person wanted to make a phone call and it appears that he simply didn’t want a stranger to make a call on it.
The person then went up to me to ask if I had a phone. I simply at first said yes I do and awaited to see what he needed. He then told me how he was looking for this music instrument repair shop and was curious if I could help him look it up. After finding the place he was looking it ended up that he was walking the wrong way and that he had to walk about 15 minutes the other way.
As my bus arrived I started to walk away and he quickly pulled out some money as he wanted to give it to me and said it was his treat to get myself a coffee or something. I mentioned it was okay as I was just glad to be able to help and we then each went our own way. If you think about the contrasting scenario to how the first person handled it and myself I think the big thing was I gave the person an opportunity to explain his situation and need as oppose to making assumptions about it.
That can be important as many times there are a ton of people that pass by us everyday where the both of you could probably help each other in a good way but because of our bias and assumptions we just simply don’t give people a chance. Who knows how many professional opportunities we throw away each day too in scenarios like these.