101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 25

Shane works at the front desk of my residence building. I’ve probably approached him a bunch times with requests after having locked myself out of my room and with questions about room maintenance, etc. But before today, I had never asked him what his name is, what he loves, who he is.

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He studied English literature at UBC quite a few years ago. He would work at the front desk in the summertime while going to school. Now he works there full time. In total, he’s been working at the front desk for twelve years.

Shane has always wanted to be a teacher. He would love to teach English literature or even general elementary school studies one day. He’s planning to go back to school to pursue those dreams. I could tell by the way he spoke that it’s something about which he’s incredibly passionate. I think he would be a great teacher.

Shane rides his bike to work. It takes about 45 minutes and he hates going up the hills and but loves going down them.

I asked him to tell me about what some of the most obscure requests were that he had received while working at the front desk (besides my own). He told me about a time when a resident had been storing their bicycle in their small room. The bike had somehow fallen onto the door handle from the inside of the room, making it impossible to open the door from the outside. They had to eventually break through the top of the door and climb over to open it.

Another time, a resident came to the front desk asking for help getting rid of mosquitos in their room. Another question he gets asked regularly is about the tap water and whether or not it’s safe to drink. There are a lot of international students who don’t know about the water quality, so he’s always happy to educate them about how clean the tap water is in Vancouver.

His life advice? Trust your intuition. Trust yourself and learn to understand the power of your inner voice, your inner wisdom. He says that too often, we look to others for advice on what to do — “whether it’s friends, family, or Gandhi”. But at the end of the day, no one knows you better than you do. Sometimes intuition speaks quietly and subtly, he said. But if you listen to it, you’ll be happier a lot of the time. We need to learn to trust ourselves more. He told me about how he still struggles to listen to his intuition but how he tries to listen whenever he can.

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