I went to London for a conference. Overnight, in a hotel by myself, I was a stranger in this big city.
Venturing out after dark to find a corner shop (do they have those in London?) I stumbled upon a well-known supermarket chain (coincidentally on a corner – proof, they do exist).
There was some welcomed familiarity with the layout of the store and its products – similar to every other branch of theirs I’ve been in – though I still wandered briefly up and down the aisles by myself, alone, silent.
Until …. a very sociable security guard leapt into action and put my goods through the self-service checkout for me. He was probably bored and glad of the activity, and he took it in his stride when I thanked him for helping.
What to him might have seemed a gesture he hadn’t given a second thought to was very much appreciated.
A few words, exchanged, some human interaction, a smile … it all helped me to feel less alone.
And this reminded me of some work I’ve been doing around induction for leaders. I went straight back to my hotel room and made a note to remember to include the importance of a buddy in your first few days.
There’s no real replacement for a lovely human being to talk to, confide in, share with, is there? Not, of course that I confided or shared much with my security guard … but you get the picture, don’t you.