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Stories with Strangers

Welcome to week five of Stories with Strangers. I decided to switch things up this week and I went to a coffee shop called Blue Sparrow Coffee instead of my usual Starbucks. I will start off saying getting anyone to talk to me took much longer than it usually does. It took me about four hours of sitting in this coffee shop and ordering lots of lattes to get this one interview done. I sat along the wall where most people typically stand and wait for their drinks waiting for anyone to sit down with me. I had many people more curious in what I was doing exactly but I suppose the offer of free coffee didn’t appeal enough to the crowd. I continued sitting there getting some other homework done until the moment I had been waiting for finally came, A person sat down across from me named Andrew and he was a a delight to talk to. He first asked what this was for and then after that we just started talking very causally. It was a weird feeling since it felt as if I knew this person with how natural the conversation. We probably talked for about an hour and a half or more from all sorts of topics ranging from football to talking about Star Wars. Andrew Also had a great story that was also terrible but overall I think it was good but I’ll let you as the reader make up your mind.

Andrew described himself as a very stupid teenager out of high school who was no where near what most people call responsible. His parents were upset with him overall due to his poor performance in school because they knew he was smart but they also knew that he wasn’t trying in the slightest. Andrew had planned to just work at some fast food place for the rest of his life and become a manager there for his life goal since he didn’t care too much what he was doing as long as he was able to live off it. Andrew’s dad however was not okay with this idea so one day before Andrew’s birthday, his dad had filled out an application for him to join the Navy in order to give his son some type of meaningful life and hoping to shape him into a responsible man. Then on Andrew’s actual birthday his dad took him down to the recruiting office to have him sign papers that he was not aware of what they really were. A week later Andrew gets the call saying that he has made it into the navy and that they would begin training and such for bootcamp the next day. Andrew being confused about what happened asks his

dad if this was some type of joke and very quickly realized it wasn’t a joke, he was going into the Navy. Understandably, He was quite upset he was tricked into joining the Navy but he signed the papers so he had to for at least two years. He mentioned how boot camp was an awful time but once he was done with that it was fairly easy sailing from there on out since he was mostly working on the ships and subs as a deckhand essentially. He actually started to enjoy the Navy after his first year and realized that the order the Navy brought was exactly what he needed in his life. The Navy in his words “Changed me from bring a loser working at Burger King to being a little less of a loser in the Navy instead.” Andrew when his two years came up decided to do another two years due to him overall liking it and because he wanted to attend college but he didn’t know exactly what he wanted to learn yet so he thought another two years would help him figure it out. Andrew currently has been out of the navy for quite some time and is working on his masters degree for physical therapy and thanks all of his success to his journey with the Navy since they gave him the kick he needed in the right direction. He ended our story by wanting to tell everyone reading this one piece of advice… do not join the Navy, unless you are bit stupid and irresponsible.

I continued talking to Andrew long after this story was told to me. The reason this story was chosen was not only because it was the only one told to me that day but more because it was a rollercoaster of a story and Andrew does a good job not making it sound like this was a bad thing but rather a tough lesson he needed to learn. I know a lot of people tend to view challenges as a chore instead of an opportunity to learn.

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