Life was Bluetiful When…
I could not have become more annoyed with myself when I turned left instead of right. This had been the third wrong turn I had made in the span of 30 minutes and I was beginning to think this trip was just not meant to be.
Earlier in the day my coworker had suggested two different dealerships, each on opposite sides of town. I chose one at random and got lost every step of the way. When I finally got there I was starting to think I had made a huge mistake. No one came out to help as I walked the aisles. I had no idea what I was looking for, every number seemed so obscure.
I walked closer to the building and considered giving it one more shot, so I went in. I stood in front of the desk while a man put his finger up to signal that he was finishing with a call. When he finished he looked at me and said “Hello.”
I replied in kind and then asked if someone could help me look at the cars outside. He replied, “I think I can do that.” We walked, we talked, he helped me locate different cars that met my needs and all the while he continued to make me feel at ease.
Later that evening as we sat at his desk I shared with him my concerns, “I always feel like I make the wrong choice on things like this,” I began. “My parents will certainly have an opinion regardless of what I do and it is exhausting trying to defend my position all the time.”
He stopped what he was doing, put his pen down and leaned in. His blue eyes met mine and he said, “I have the exact same problem with my parents.”
“Really” I questioned, thinking perhaps this was a ploy to get me to buy.
“Seriously, I am not kidding you” he added, “whenever I make a choice, buy something, try something new, they climb up into my business. It has gotten to where I often feel paralyzed in making decisions.”
“Yes, that is exactly it” I shared in enthusiasm. There could be no way he would make this up if it weren’t true. We chatted more about our similar issues and he talked with me about options. He said I could wait on making the decision if that was easier. I could take time to think and come back. He would put a hold on the car I fell in love with (a blue Saturn) for a week’s time.
We took another test drive, and this time because a strong summer storm had blown in, he pulled the car up under the canopy and escorted me to it with an umbrella.
By the end of the night I was sure I was making the right decision, but put the car on hold anyway. On my ride home I called my mom. I intended on asking her to come with me the following day to see the car, but I ended up talking about the salesman instead. I begged her to come with me on Saturday and meet him for herself. All I could talk about was his kindness, his empathy, his ability to make me feel relaxed in a very tense environment and how well we clicked. I did mention the car, but by then it was just a means to an end.
The next day she travelled with me back to the dealership. This time I did not get lost. My mom met him and saw the car. The three of us went on a test drive and he explained the process similar to the way he had explained it to me. I would need to wait until my next paycheck to have the down payment necessary, but the car would remain on hold until I came back. When he left the desk for paperwork I leaned in and asked her what she thought.
“It’s a good car, good choice honey” she replied.
“No, not the car, the guy?” I pressured.
She nodded her head in approval and gave me a wink.
Two weeks later I picked up the car, and the salesman was there to deliver it to me in style, taking my picture as we both smiled in excitement. I came to find out that if I hadn’t gotten lost on my way to the dealership that first day, I would never have met him. He had just gotten back from his lunch and it was his turn to man the desk and take the next customer, which happened to be me. Had I arrived on time, 20 minutes earlier, I would have had a different salesperson altogether.
When I got home that evening, the proud owner of my very first car, I sat at my kitchen table and wrote a thank you note to the salesman. I told him that I had been nervous about the process but he had done a great job setting my mind at ease. I finished the note with a cordial thank you. Then on the back of the card I wrote, “Maybe we will see each other again some time” and I included my phone number. I was unsure what I was trying to achieve, but it just felt right.
Three days later he called and we scheduled our first date. We have been together ever since. His kindness and honest blue eyes, along with my bluetiful blue Saturn were the beginning to the rest of my life. I write this as I plan for our 20th wedding anniversary trip.
About Cathy Braxton...
Cathy Braxton is the Chief Education Officer of Silver Dawn Training Institute. As the Chief Education Officer, Cathy believes in creating thought-provoking educational content. Her unapologetic style, allows caregivers to dig deep into empathy and provides a safe space for exploration into this important foundational concept for the Dementia RAW Method, and the Certified Dementia Communication Specialist Training.
She is a published author and blogger for The Chicago Tribune and was the Co-Ambassador for the Chicago Chapter of Aging 2.0 2015-2017. Cathy has received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Illinois and has completed all coursework for her M.A. in Health Psychology and Gerontology Studies. Cathy has been in the industry over 20 years in the aging industry managing memory care units, directing activity programs, providing case management and service coordination, and facilitating support groups.