And it occurred to me how amazing it would be for there to be more of that kind of interaction in our world.

In a world that is becoming increasingly polarized and divisive, we must remember that we are, first and foremost, human. I had a pleasant reminder recently of how the simple act of validating another person has great power to bring us together.

Recently, I was driving down Reynolds Road in south Toledo, and stopped at the red light at Heatherdowns Boulevard. It was a warm, sunny day, and I had my window down.

I sat in my car, waiting for the light to change, and then I sneezed. From the car waiting beside me in the lane to my left, I heard a woman say “Bless you!” I turned toward her, smiled sheepishly, and said “thank you.” Soon, the light turned green and the traffic began to move. My incidental new friend and I waved to each other as she turned left onto Heatherdowns and I continued down Reynolds.

As I drove along in the heavy afternoon traffic, I thought about my brief interaction with the friendly woman at the stop light. Our exchange had been so spontaneous, just one person reacting simply – almost reflexively – to another. And it occurred to me how amazing it would be for there to be more of that kind of interaction in our world.

What if we were able to begin seeing each other a little less for our differences and more as just people, each of us moving through our days the best way we know how, trying to do the best we can for our families, our communities, and ourselves?

The woman in the car next to me at the light didn’t know anything about me. She just heard me sneeze and reacted, one human to another.

What can you do today to acknowledge and validate someone?

photo credit: caribb Zoom Zoom.. via photopin (license)

About Terry Vernier

Terry truly enjoys getting to know the EA members as he plans and manages our public seminars and conferences. Outside the office, he likes attending classic car shows, reading, and spending time with his wonderful family and friends. His biggest challenge is not stopping to pet every dog he happens to see.


  • Phyllis says:

    Nice story, Terry! I agree….we need to come together as a nation and incidents like this is the way to do it!