Christa Hann »

Tolerance, Love & Listening

He chuckled and made a remark with a European accent how while waiting in the car dealership we can check our computers. I laughed and agreed.

He told me he was 90 and started using a computer two years ago, and proudly proclaimed that he even uses Facebook.

As conversations go…or somehow they tend to go with me, he proceeded to tell me how he was in a concentration camp and even after all these years the world isn’t getting better. Do you know what we need? More tolerance and more love. I’ve seen a lot of things and the world isn’t getting better.

I’ve driven the same car for the past 60 years, he laughed again as he told me this very dealership even tells him to keep his car. They told me the car is fine, I’ve always taken care of it and had it serviced regularly. I don’t need a new car.

I’m alone but I’m happy. My wife passed away 7 years ago at 75. She was younger than me, because it took me five years to even trust people again once I got out of the concentration camp. I live a simple life and I’m satisfied. I get a coffee every morning at McDonald’s and then I go to the park to enjoy nature….every morning. I tell my daughters all the time that life isn’t about things. We’re too greedy.

He mentioned that he used to talk in schools, I asked why he didn’t anymore? He shook his head and said, it was like talking to walls. Kids aren’t educated about concentration camps. I’d talk about it and they would ask me what it was like to be in the war? I wasn’t in the war….he trailed off as we were interrupted by the receptionist letting me know that my oil change was finished.

He smiled warmly as he watched me round up the kids to go pay my bill. I thanked him for the conversation and headed to the front desk. As I headed towards the door he jumped up and held it open for me. I smiled and thanked him again.

I’m not sure why I love hearing stories from the elderly, maybe it’s because they have seen so much, maybe it’s because they’re so wise, maybe it’s because they’ve seen the error of their ways and now have lives of peace and satisfaction. But one thing is for certain, that elderly gentleman, who has seen almost a century of love and hate,  simply wanted to tell his story, all he needed was for someone to take the time to actually care and to listen.

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