March 26, 2011
Series #1: Inspiring Ordinary People Inspiring Ordinary #1: Brilliant Museum Guard

Don’t you love it when you meet awesome people who are inspiring despite their ordinary jobs?  Because I ADORE these people.  Whether they do things that are well above and beyond their calls of duties or they do creative things with the resources they have or simply because they are passionate about something - they are inspiring.   The people in this series includes those who I’ve met personally and those who I’ve learned about through friends and through the media. When I learn about cool people and cool things/concepts, I rave to those around me. Some people are just so inspiring that raving to those I can share with physically is not enough. So here I am raving to whoever’s reached through this blog. 

Brilliant Museum Guard

My friends and I visited the Getty Museum in LA a couple of years back.  Absolutely beautiful museum with breathtaking view.  It’s located quite high on a hill and to reach the museum we had to take a monorail.  The collection is spread around several buildings and rooms.  When we were entered section, we saw a typical looking museum guard - a young, buff, big guy with his black suit on.  

The room was fairly empty when he asked us: “where are you guys from?”  

Us: uh, a couple of different countries (it’s true, the four of us had different nationalities/backgrounds).

Guard: name one.

Us: Indonesia.

Guard: Selamat Datang (means welcome in Indonesian)

Us: you’re good!!

Guard: name another one

Us: Japan

Guard: 歓迎 (means welcome in Japanese)

Us: wohoww… mandarin?

Guard: 欢迎

Us: Tagalog!

Guard: maligayang pagdating 

And that testing went for quite a while - between the four of us, I think we knew how to say welcome in quite a few languages, we had Japanese, Philippines, Spanish, Indonesian, Chinese, Malaysian backgrounds.  On top of that we knew different second and third languages.  But that guard prevailed!  In the end he said that he knew how to say welcome in more than 100+ languages. He later revealed that he learned these phrases only from the museum visitors he met during his shifts. 

Isn’t this guy brilliant?  There he was, a museum guard who can be perfectly serious (only yelling at people who try to touch or break things) and spend his days completely bored (guard image 2: falling asleep in a corner).  Instead, he chose to interact with visitors and  learn something new everyday (at least before he ran out of languages). He either (a) learn a new way of saying a phrase, (b) practice language with the visitors he converse with or (c) entertain and inspire people, if he met people like us.

I’d love to see what this guy is up to now - he is probably aiming to complete all the languages in the world or learning the second or third useful phrases in different languages.  Whatever he’s up to now, he has given an example that a) time can be used creatively and b) one can be inspiring whatever his/her job is.  Who says you need a high profile job to be inspiring and influential?

Man I wish I had the picture of that guy.  I think I should do a better job at documenting and record keeping. Had I been better at those habits, I’d have a picture of him and probably a more detailed record of our conversation.  Mistakes learned.

"Make a good use of the present" - Horace

  1. trainsofthoughts posted this
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