A cup of tea, firefighter gear and a Costco piano duet

By Jason Barnaby | | 2.17.18

You may be wondering what tea, firefighter gear and a video link to people playing piano in Costco have in common. At first glance, nothing–right?

I’ll try to break it down.

This week I was given a tea bag from a contractor at work who immigrated here from India. That set off a conversation about tea in his home country, how he drinks it, the health benefits and so on. This led to another conversation about life in general and now when I see him in the hallways there is a familiarity we share. We are quicker to smile and greet each other now.

Thursday night my middle son started a firefighter cadet program. The kids range in age from 14-19 are African American, White and Hispanic, male and female. The program is run by a tenured, African American captain with several years of service on the fire department. All were excited to be receiving helmets, coats and pants to be used as “their gear” over the next year. The older members of the program who already had gear spent time showing the newbies how to put it on, what goes where and other tricks of the trade.

The link to the video below is a woman who looks to be of Asian descent and a white man doing a pretty cool improv session on 2 pianos in the front of a Costco store.

So…what’s the link you may be asking. In each of these scenarios there are people of varying age, heritage, race, religion, gender. Yet in each one of these interactions there is no mention or focus on ANY of those things. NONE. What there is, is a deeper understanding of another person’s culture, a common excitement around gear that saves lives and a love for playing and sharing music. And as I sit writing and reflecting on these 3 seemingly unconnected events, I’m struck by how very connected they all are in their lack of focus on what so often is made the focus.

I wonder how different today would look in your home, your workplace, your city if we all paid more attention to the “stuff” that brings us together (a cup of tea, gear designed to save lives, music that has no borders and boundaries) as opposed to all that other stuff.

And lastly this. I wonder if you can watch this 3.5 minute video of some really good piano playing and not smile as they celebrate the sharing of the music that brought them together. Costco Piano Duet

What will you DO?