An Unexpected Inspiration

So, yesterday I spent the day at a career fair at Mount Royal University in Calgary.  I estimate that during the day I probably spoke to at least 250 people about the organization that I work for; the majority of these people were students, some mature, some in their first year and others were general job seekers checking out the event and looking for free swag.

Around 1:00 in the afternoon I was feel under caffeinated, tired from spending the night away from my own bed, and growing weary of repeating myself for what felt like the thousandth time that day.

It was around this time that I was approached by a young man named Nathan.  Nathan is an open studies student at the university who walked towards me with the biggest grin on his face and said, “what’s been the best part of your day”.  He didn’t ask me how much I could pay him, or how to apply onto a position (which are all very valid questions at a career fair), but started out asking me what the best part of my day was.  I was actually thrown off guard and didn’t have my readily canned “Career Fair”, response prepared.

Nathan and I started talking about his future goals, and which direction he saw himself taking in terms of his future educational and subsequent career choices.  He took a really long pause… like a really long one.. I thought for a moment he hadn’t heard me, and then he said: “I just want a job that makes me happy – because all I want to do is make others happy”.

On the drive home from Calgary I had a lot of time to process my day.  I thought about how grumpy I was that I didn’t have a tea, or didn’t have a good enough sleep.  Then I thought about Nathan, and how having that conversation had shifted my vantage point.

The one piece of this story that I’ve omitted  up till now is that Nathan has Down Syndrome.   Although he has certainly had to overcome much more than a bad sleep or lack of caffeine, he still approaches life with such zest and purpose.  He led with a smile and really seemed to care about how I felt, and genuinely was fulfilled by making others happy.

Nathan was an inspiration to me me, and although I know he will never read this blog; I wanted to put this out there in digital media land.  I want to say thank-you to Nathan for being such an inspirational person, and for making me happy.

Nicole Tomie