An old man changed my life without knowing me or knowing he did

Right where I am sitting right now in a cafe, there is two huge sets of windows in front of me that are looking through a street where many pedestrians are walking, and there is an old man sitting next to me. He grabbed my attention because of, the difference between him, and every other person sitting in this room.

He is sitting with his cup of coffee with his hands around it, with no phone near him, no laptop in front of him, and no headphones plugged in his ears. He is sitting with nothing but a cup of coffee. Nothing but his thoughts, his mind, and his eyes looking straight ahead. Every other person in that coffee shop, is either talking on the phone, listening to music while texting and/or scrolling down their screen, or just sitting next to their phone that is plugged in the wall, waiting for it to turn on, not once glancing over the room, and looking at people around them. Some others are just doing what I am doing, working or studying on their laptop.

Every single person in this coffee shop does not know who the person next to them is, and frankly, does not even care to know. The only time they actually saw the people in the room is when they were looking for a place to sit. And when they did, they did not smile, or even say hello to the person in front of them, next to them, or even behind them. Their only focus is on the screen that is in front of them. Robots is what they are and what they look like. They are not the only ones guilty of that, I am too, and you probably are too. If not right in this moment, the moment right before it.


The man siting next to me is the only one in this room that is enjoying himself and living the moment, as we say. he is looking through the huge sets of windows in front of him, actually smiling at the few people who look up while passing by. He is looking at every single person that is passing by and enjoying his surroundings. he is smiling, not only at people who is passing by but to himself as well. He is enjoying himself, and his cup of coffee. Most of us wouldn’t understand what is there to enjoy and it is because we are functioned to only enjoy ourselves during everything but the simple moments.
He made me look up and look ahead and smile too. Smile at being present and alive. Many moments pass by and we do not even notice them. Many people pass by and we do not even see them. People are around us every single day and we don’t even interact with them 90% of the time, unless we have too. We are controlled by those screens. we are controlled by the materialistic things, that we have become unable to enjoy the simple things. Life is about every passing moment. it is about every memory you make every single day that you are present. it is not just about the moments you capture. it is not about the moments where your body was there but your mind wasn’t. it is not about the moments where you were consumed by the screen in front of you.
The man who was sitting next to me just moments ago stood up and looked over at me and told me goodbye. He changed my life because from now on, I will not be a robot, I will be a living being, living every moment passing by. I will, as much as I could, not have the screen consume me but rather be present in each passing moment.
Right after the old man left, a girl came and sat next to me, put her coffee down on the table and immediately held up her phone. The cycle began again but this time, it was not including me. All thanks to this stranger who was living in the moment right next to me.

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. the world will have a generation of IDIOTS.”- Albert Einstein.

Yours truly,

The Unknown Within