Editorial: Just take a minute and connect | TribLIVE.com

Editorial: Just take a minute and connect


We all have someplace to be. We all have things to do and people to meet and tasks to complete and hurdles that frustrate us.

But we also have time to stop and listen. We just have to decide to do it.

Dylan Tetil did.

On Saturday, Tetil was seating an old man at a table at the Rostraver Eat’n Park. He took his order, but he didn’t just serve his meal.

He shared it.

No, not in the sense that he helped himself to the man’s mashed potatoes. He shared it in the way that you might share dinner with your family even if you ate a late lunch and aren’t really hungry.

You sit down. You listen. You share the time that it takes to eat some chicken and green beans and a slice of pie, and you hear what happened in their day and tell them about yours.

It’s not about breaking bread. It’s about breaking boundaries.

Tetil gave a 91-year-old World War II veteran a chance to be heard for a little while — to tell his story and know that someone was listening. He didn’t know, and the veteran didn’t know, that another customer caught the story in a picture and it went viral on social media. From there it became a Tribune-Review article.

It was a simple and beautiful story. And it is heartbreaking that it was unusual enough to capture so much attention.

It isn’t just that we are rapidly running out of World War II vets who could tell us about their thin wedge of history. It’s not just that a college student took time to lend an ear to a lonely man.

It’s that it is so rare to have people connect like that anymore — especially when they are strangers. The veteran was a regular at the restaurant, but no one else knew anything about him. Only Tetil shared a moment with him.

“Dylan obviously really embraced that goal. … I think people are looking for kindness and human connection in the world, which is why it went viral,” Eat’n Park spokesman Kevin O’Connell said.

He is right. People are looking for those connections, and the story resonated for that reason.

Everyone can make those moments happen. It’s just about being present when engaging with others.

Yes, we all have someplace to be and something to do. But make the time. Make the connection. It’s worth it.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
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