101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 72

This evening, while I was working at the library at UBC, I decided to approach the security guard who’s been on duty here most nights since I started studying at the university. I’d never asked him his name before, and I’m glad that I did today. His name is Michael and he is my stranger of the day.

He invited me to sit and chat with him in his office for a few minutes. He said that he wasn’t allowed to take a photo in his uniform, which I respected. But he was able to share his story, and I’m excited to share some of his wisdom with you.

Michael has been working as a security guard for twenty years. He’s served as a guard at hotels, schools, and even at the Supreme Court for six years. But becoming a security guard had never really been his plan. In fact, he used to own a construction business a few decades ago. But after getting into an accident, he injured his neck and was no longer able to run the business. So, he decided to become a security guard, as it’s a way in which he’s able to help other people.

When Michael got injured, the pain lingered for ten years. It was excruciating. Nothing seemed to work. He would visit different doctors, only to leave disappointed every time. Then, one day, he visited an acupuncturist who was recommended to him by a friend of his. After just two appointments, his pain was gone. “I left the appointment and started crying”, he said. He had thought he would have to live in pain for the rest of his life.

His advice? “Be a decent human being and try your best”. Reflecting on his own life and experiences, he went on to explain just how important it is to live your life through the good and the bad. Pain and sadness, he explained, are parts of life that help us to value the good, the great, and the moments of peace and bliss.

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