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We all need a little bit of “Tony” in our lives.

My grandson has a college degree. You might ask, “Is he climbing the corporate ladder?” No, he is not. “Is he investing large chunks of his pay in the stock market?” No he is not. “Does he drive a BMW?” Definitely no. Is he happy? Yes.

Tony is a waiter in a small neighborhood restaurant located in San Diego, California. He has a fairly sizable following of faithful customers from all walks of life; that do study the stock market, drive BMW’s and are climbing the proverbial corporate ladder.

Tony has refined the art of listening. Tony talks to people and encourages them to answer back. This is called “conversation”. No phones, no electronics needed. He has, “the knack”.

When his customers arrive for breakfast or lunch, they know that they are in for some lively chit-chat. He talks to them about last night’s football game, and the basketball scores; or how their aunt Sarah’s hip replacement is healing; and because this is San Diego, how their dog is getting along. Tony takes the time to remember the details and the names of his customers.

This “art” of conversation is not something that comes easily to everyone. It is not a degree one can earn in college; rather, it is making an effort to talk about everyday living. Engaging people and caring enough to learn their names.

We need to take more time and effort to visit with the overwhelmed father, the single mother, the teacher, the veteran, the guy down the block who is newly widowed; or the caregiver who works 24/7. Send a card, bake a cookie or just pick up the phone.

We can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life just by being a “Tony”.


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