The 65ish couple in front of me were full of fresh energy. They had observed the excitement that unfolded with the family before them – a family I know well and have great connections with mom and both kids. They heard me tell the mom that my interaction with them was just made for a blog post. (Looking back on it later, absent the excitement of the moment, it doesn’t seem so.)
“So what do we need to do to make it into your blog?”
“Ah, something interesting.” Kind of sassy from a customer service person.
“Like what? A song and dance or something?” Not really cranky – more playful.
“I don’t know – we’ll see.”
At the end of their transaction, I got it. They had watched me give stickers to the kids in front of them. “You two need stickers!” “No”, laughing. Their laughter gave them away – they liked this idea! So I pursued. “Yeah, you gotta have stickers: do you want the planet or a star?” Big giggles now and I knew we had hit pay dirt. They finally got their stickers and they temporarily shed about sixty years in the process. They left my line lighter and happier.
This interaction briefly spawned a new initiative on my part – “Stickers for seniors” – but it didn’t stick. I didn’t remember to do it, I ran into one man who got genuinely irritated with the idea. I made the mistake with one guy of identifying it as my “Stickers for seniors program”: “Oh, that’s just what I need, it to wear something that identifies me as a senior.”
As a program, I think “Stickers for seniors” is a bust. But in that one interaction it was perfect. A program is attractive – spot a senior, I know what to do. I guess I don’t get to have it be that easy. The right response will come out of that unique encounter.
I do get some leads out of that interaction: See them as interesting. Be open to something memorable happening. Have a preferential inclination towards play and lightness – maybe especially with seniors.