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Every new person I met last month.

If you’re a faithful reader of this blog, you know that I have a goal of meeting 1 new person every single day. For the month of July 2016, I decided to embark on a little adventure that would document that goal. I wanted to make a note on every single person that was my “new person” for that particular day, and maybe a little story about them.

This project took on many forms so far this year through the brainstorming process. Last year, I recorded 1 second of my life every single day, and I didn’t know if I could translate something like that into something closer to my goal of meeting a new person daily. Like, how do you approach someone and ask them if you can post a photo or story about them on your little space on the internet? Would people even be into it?

Instead, I decided to keep notes. Those notes that I kept in my iPhone turned into this blog. After you click through, you’ll see a whole list. 1 person for each day. 31 folks. Some of them may become better friends, some of them were just through the service industry, others have played a huge part in my health and healing.

Each person, no doubt, has left an impact on me. Thanks to a little note about them and their name I can instantly launch back, mentally, to that day, and our interaction. I believe that our ability to be social is one of the greatest privileges we are provided as human beings. This little project just takes advantage of that, and writes it down. And reminds me of the beauty in being social creatures. In sharing information, in learning about other’s lives, in getting advice when you least expect it.

As I’ve always said, the potential behind being open to meeting 1 new person everyday is limitless.

I also like to ask my 1 new person, if the conversation goes deeper, 1 constant question: “What makes you awesome?” I’ve included the answer to that question where I could/took note of it. :)

Enjoy!

1. Sebastian
I was renting a car for a weekend trip to Virginia Beach. He was the friendly Enterprise employee that picked me up! What makes him awesome? The fact that he also works in the airline industry and has travelled to more than a dozen countries with his free airline miles! He informed me how accessible and clean Singapore is and that Japan would also be a great place to visit as I have a goal of more international travel in the coming months and year.

2. Aunt Martha/Lauren B.
I couldn’t pick just one. At Ari W.’s wedding this weekend, I had a great conversation about Singapore (and their interesting tax system) with her Aunt Martha, and it was also a highlight finally being able to meet her sister, Lauren!

3. Karen J.
Karen hosted a women’s brunch for Ari’s closest friends. I somehow was special enough to get an invitation, even though I’m a man. Her homemade cream cheeses were amazing. :)

4. 2 Hokies at Wawa.
Shannon and I were on the way to Charlottesville from Virginia Beach, when we stopped at a Richmond-area Wawa to refuel the car and ourselves. 2 Hokie guys walked in – I can’t remember their names – but I gave them a friendly Go Hokies. We ended up talking about Hokie football for a good 10 minutes!

5. Brian.
Returning the car rental to Enterprise, I met a man named Brian. We didn’t chat much, as I wasn’t feeling well – but he took care of me quickly and I was in and out in a matter of minutes!

6. An employee at one of my favorite NOVA restaurants, Taco Bamba.
She took the time to explain to me, at length, what “Corn Carbon” is. I ordered one and it was delicious!

7. Receptionist at Dr. Ramineni’s office.
Dr. Ramineni is my plastic surgeon. Her name is Gina.

8. Guy waiting for his food at SmashBurger!
I decided to get dinner at a SmashBurger restaurant near my house for the first time, and a fellow patron encouraged me to splurge and the the banana milkshake that I had been unsure about. It was worth it.

9. Matt at the DC Hokies Alumni Chapter Picnic. And several other Hokies :)
One of my favorite occasions – a Hokie Alumni event!

10. Lady helped me find theatre 8 at AMC.
I went to see The Secret Life of Pets with some friends, and it was my first time at this particular theatre. A very nice lady helped me find theatre 8, where I was headed.

11. Mary.
She was a pharmacist at Kaiser who helped me locate a prescription that I urgently needed to refill before some international travel. I had requested it be filled days prior – but to no success! Mary was a hero!

12. New concierge in my building!
I don’t remember her name and I haven’t met her since, but she was super nice! Made me wonder where Ness went though…

13. Naser
Ari W. and I decided to get together for dessert after dinner tonight. Our waiter, Naser, at FDB Eatery was super friendly and made a meannnnnn Banana’s Foster!

14. Mona Lee?
I think that was her name? She was a friend of roommate’s and she slept on our couch that night. She was super nice.

15. Daria & Kevin
She directed me and a group of friends at the shooting range we visited on this day, the first day of Bachelor Party shenanigans in Montréal! Kevin, one of Allante’s coworkers, was also great and a pleasure to spend an entire Bachelor Party Weekend with!

16. Can’t remember her name…but she was very friendly and had an adorable french accent!

17. Derrick.
This story is one of my favorites from the entire month. As we entered a club back on the 15th, there was an enthusiastic gentleman exiting. He gave me and my buddies a bunch of high fives, commending both them and myself for carrying me up and down the dozens of stairs that preempted entry to the club. I reminded him that I really did nothing but sit there, and that my friends were the real champions here. I saw him again later that night, on the 15th – he came back to the same bar. BUT … then fast forward to today, the 17th, and Derrick is ALSO at a completely different place in Montréal – enjoying some electronic music at a day rave in a park! It was crazy to run into the same person within 3 days of being in a completely new country. And by crazy, I mean awesome. It’s being able to tell stories like this that are a big reason of why I meet someone new daily!

#picnikelectronik 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦

A post shared by Justin Graves (@hesonwheels) on

18. Martha.
On the shuttle back to the Metro from the airport, and on the Metro on the way home, I happened to sit next to a gal named Martha. We first bonded over how rude the driver of the shuttle bus was being. After we got off the shuttle, we wished each other luck for the rest of the trip, as we were both only most of the way home. But then we happened to sit next to each other again on the Metro from Reston to our respective stops. Then, I learned what makes her awesome. What makes her awesome? She was returning from her travels across Europe as part of a singing program that she’s a part of. Her day job is as a teacher. Her passion job is singing. I admire folks who balance both.

19. Karynn.
As I deplaned yesterday, I got a voicemail that my final reconstructive surgeries were finally approved by my HMO! Karynn was one of the last faces I saw before they put my under anesthesia, and so began the rest of my month in the hospital.

20. Drake.
He was the first nurse that I had when I woke up super groggy and confused. He’s great at his job, extreely nice, and …. his name is drake.

21. Markee.
I feel like Markee and I have an amazing working relationship. He’s been my tech (assistant to my main nurse) many times over the past several weeks, and I really appreciate how thorough and considerate he is in his job.

22. Raven.
She was also my nurse! Fun fact about her: she is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., just like my sister.

23. Shannon.
One of the best, most thorough nurses I’ve had so far!

24. Nathan.
Again, my nurse for the day. What makes him awesome? He used to be a grade school art teacher

25. Nicole.
Not a nurse! haha to change it up a bit, she actually is my dietitian. Everything has been great working with her – mainly the fact that she makes sure that I get double portions for my meals and Ensure Plus health supplements. They all help promote wound healing AKA I’m a growing boy! :)

26. Chi Chi, nurse!
You know, I never did get her real name. But she sure did love the speech that Michelle Obama gave at the DNC last night!

27. Marie.
Based on just a little bit of converation – even though I wa very tired – Marie and I hit if off very quickly as conducted an ultrasound on my leg. What made her awesome? Her birthday is just a few day after mine, alo making her a Virgo! And she claims he figured that we were the same sign without even looking at my birthday! Impressive. :)

28. Valerie.
I had another surgery today. This post is short. We didn’t chat much. But she did say that someone put “pleasant young male” on my chart, when you don’t even have to put an adjective. Hey, thanks!

29. Althea.
Oh my goodness. She’s the phlebotomist that I see every morning around 5:00 a.m. Waking up just to have your blood drawn is never, ever fun. But she makes it as pleasant as possible. :) She’s a hoot.

30. Brittany.
I know, I’ve only posted about many nurses, but what am I supposed to do when I’m stuck in my hospital bed on bed rest? Coolest thing about Brittany though, and what I think makes her awesome? She’s a Hokie. She graduated the same year that I earned my Master’s. :)

31. And finally! – no one!
I decided to use the last day of the month to write this post and reflect on all of the stories from across the world that I’ve heard in the past month. Although my plans had a little bit of a wrench thrown into them with being admitted to the hospital since the 19th, it was still a great practice in engaging, socially, with the folks around me.

As per ushe, I tend not to encourage folks to adopt a similar goal of meeting 1 new person everyday and seeing if they can keep up with it. Rather, make your own goal, one that is achievable and sustainable for you. Maybe it’s 1 new person every week. And I guarantee you the stories and ideas you’ll learn and develop just by communicating with others will change your world view.

Thanks for reading!