My Life My View

5 Stairs. 5 Stars.

By on November 18, 2016

I am having one of those mornings.  You know…the kind where everything is going on auto-pilot but you are not quite sure where the plane is going?  It is that kind of morning.

Up way too early.  Got to bed way too late.  Lots on the brain.  Skipped breakfast even though I know that’s bad.  My prayers were more perfunctory than powerful.  And that is not right.  Left my phone charger in the hotel.  Did a lazy ironing job on my shirt that would make my mother weep with shame.  And, by the way, why is my shirt so snug?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that my gym shoes and workout clothes are sitting in my suitcase, untouched?  Nah.  It must be something in the water that is shrinking my clothing.  It surely has nothing to do with me or my habits.  Emily and I have a lot happening right now.  Tons going on at church.  I can barely think about this weekend without being tired.  It is going to be one of those.

So, just one of those mornings.  These are not problems of hunger or poverty.  I am extremely blessed.  We have nothing to complain about in the grand scheme of things.  We live a life of privilege compared to the real needs facing the world today.  But it is one of those mornings, when it is easy to forget what matters…until a stranger from a small village in India sets you back on the right course.

I was so immersed in “work” this morning that I barely even chatted with the driver this morning.  Usually I am the guy that wants to socialize.  But this morning there was just too much going on.  I was distracted.  I barely looked up from my laptop to see the world around me.  And probably was not very attentive or kind to the driver.  He seemed stressed.  The construction had him grumbling something under his breath and I could see him nervously scratching himself as he tugged at the steering wheel.

We got there.  Just minutes to spare.  As I rushed out of the car, grabbing my stuff in the never-ending battle to fit everything into my nemesis briefcase, forgetting the (back-up) phone charger and then reaching for it in a splash of desperate bravado digital rescue, I muttered off to my uber driver my lackluster feedback comment, “Thank you, I will give you 5 stairs.”

5 stairs?  STAIRS?  C’mon, Sherinian.

We kind of looked at each other in one of those moments when you know someone has to be the adult and correct the situation.  I made a tepid attempt with, “I am sorry.  That came out wrong…”

And then, this guy comes back with the most beautiful example of both communications and compassion.

“I know you meant stars,” he said.  “But I will take stairs, too.  You need them to go up!”

Bingo.  Truly, 5:55am, blurry-eyed, overstimulated, stressed out BINGO.  This guy nailed it.

I thanked him.  He knew I needed it.  He needed the levity.  This wise skinny Sikh man from India and this chubby Armenian-American-Mormon from Pasadena…just two guys trying to get through the day.  And we both needed some stairs.  I am so grateful for people who are willing to grab a moment like this and teach someone, like me, who needed a perspective refresh.

We all need stairs.  You need them to go up.  That’s a 5-star part of life.



Aaron Sherinian
Washington, DC

I am a Communicator, Dad and Global PR guy who is inspired by the fascinating people in my life. I love the challenges that a new world of communications means for those of us who work across borders and time zones to try and create powerful conversations that will make the world a better place.