Through a Different Lens-My Journey to View Others Differently

I consider myself to have led a comfortable, loving, yet somewhat sheltered life. Growing up in the number one safest city in the state of Indiana, and one of the safest cities in the entire nation, I have never endured the adversity that many face every single day. I have also led a fairly comfortably financially secure lifestyle as well, although we have had our fair share of struggles. Nevertheless, going into the first few weeks at my job at Target over two years ago, my close-minded self didn’t exactly sympathize or love people who struggled or walked a different life path than I. That all changed as each day at work introduced me to a new person who could widen my horizons and show me a different side to life.

Foremost, one amazing person who has changed my outlook on life is my lovely co-worker, Jo. Before I continue my story about her, I’d like to say that before my job at Target, I usually thought lowly of people who survived day to day on welfare and food stamps, and even attributed most unemployed persons unemployment to that of their own fault. A naive, ignorant, and selfish way to think, yes, but I had never really been introduced to that side of life. Anyway, Jo has been a contributing factor in my changed outlook towards people who don’t live as comfortable of a life as I have been blessed with (I say blessed because I don’t always believe I deserve it). Jo is a single mom with three teenage children, and has held a variety of minimum wage jobs throughout the course of her adulthood. She lives relatively far away from Fishers and barely makes do with her aid from food stamps. However, I have found Jo to be a humble, hilarious, loving, and amazing friend to me throughout the past 6 months that I have known her. As she’s informed me of her various struggles with great humility, I’ve learned to value her friendship and I now look at those in hardships-specifically financial ones-through a different lens.

As a result, I have recently found that the other adult co-workers I have, who oftentimes struggle equally as Jo, as some of the most genuine and wonderful people I’ve ever met. It’s irrelevant to me their income levels or how they ended up in that position, instead I have found that they’re gracious and aren’t caught up in the superficiality of material things and name brands like many others do. Now I strive to treat everyone in my line equally. When customers come through with a Hoosier Works card, I don’t judge them or think poorly of them, but instead I look at them as everyone else.

Another co-worker who has greatly changed how I view others is named Lynn, probably one of the most genuine and compassionate people I have ever met. Lynn has been working as a cashier at Target for five years and his wife also works at Target in the deli. On the surface level, Lynn clearly has some sort of condition that immediately makes him stand out as different. Ironically enough, Lynn was the cashier who trained me when I first started at Target. I have known him to always show love towards everyone-even those who think of him as strange. He’s always asking me how I am, how school is, and recently asked if him and his wife could have one of my senior pictures. Now whenever I meet someone who’s a little different than I am, I also treat them as I would treat anyone else. They’re no different.

While I may come across as selfish, spoiled, or bratty, I do believe that my job at Target has tremendously changed my outlook on people and I really do know the meaning behind, “Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover”.

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