The other day, I looked down at my watch and realized that the battery had stopped. Assuming this would be an easy fix, I walked down to the local hardware store in my neighborhood with my friend Karen. We were on a mission!
The Jordanian shop owner greeted us with a wide smile, gesturing for us to come inside. Taking my watch in his hand, he began to explain in broken English that he didn’t have any batteries left. But he motioned for us to follow him back outside.
After living in Amman for a few weeks, I’ve found this to be common practice – to blindly follow a friendly stranger without any direction or explanation. All in hopes that your question will be answered.
As we walked down the block, we ran into another man who the shop owner greeted warmly with hugs and kisses.
“This is my cousin, Omar,” the owner shared. “He will help you.”
We introduced ourselves and smiled in return. Then we followed them both into another, almost identical, hardware store. Omar took my watch and, within minutes, my watch was ticking away. Success!
We warmly thanked our new friends as we left the shop, yet were surprised when Omar followed us outside. He then walked into a lighting store next door.
“This is my shop,” he explained proudly. It was only then that we realized Omar did not work at the second hardware store. He was merely friends with the other owner.
Omar had gone out of his way to help us, even when it didn’t benefit him financially at all. Simply because he could. So had his cousin, the first shop owner. Pure benevolence.
This is the culture of hospitality that defines Jordan: A willingness to pause whatever you are doing to be of service to someone else. This applies even when it doesn’t directly benefit you. Serving simply because you can.
This experience got me thinking…
How many times do we take the time to help someone like this?
It’s about time. Not just a newly ticking watch, but the time to put someone else’s needs above our own. This is so we can build true community with each other. It’s about time we embraced this ideology.
I may never see Omar or his cousin again. I hope I do. But every time I look down at my watch, I remember the lessons they taught me: To not be so busy that we overlook the needs of others standing right in front of us. To be willing to be interrupted. To take the time to ask how we can serve and contribute to making someone’s day – or even their life – just a little better.
It’s about time we shifted the focus off ourselves so we can develop true leadership through serving others.