Last Saturday, National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) Annual Conference came to San Antonio. I had the pleasure of volunteering with some of my BMPR pals. We volunteered to be citizen journalists as well as teach social media to anyone during the conference. In my first interview I met a well-kept man in his mid 30’s named Felix. Felix explained to me that he had recently lost his job and was hoping to learn some computer skills at the conference. His mother had suggested that he come.
As quickly as we wrapped the interview, I put my nerd hat on and we walked over to the computer table. I asked Felix what he knew about computers so I wouldn’t be duplicating his knowledge. He says “I know how to type.” As we sat down, he explained that he’s typically worked as a server and dishwasher in different venues around town. He brought a notepad that he promptly took out for note taking. The conversation went like this:
Me: Felix, are you familiar with Google? Do you have an email address?
Felix: I’ve heard of Google and no, I don’t have an email address. Honestly, I don’t know what button to press to turn on a computer.
I showed Felix that most power button logos had been standardized, taught him how to get online, search on Google, set up a Gmail account and how to look at maps on Google. He took notes about it all.
Felix, though, didn’t realize he was teaching me as well. He reminded me to not take our knowledge and the ability to acquire it for granted. His childlike wonder was uplifting as I taught him how to change a route on Google Maps. He was amazed when I explained that you could email around the world without charge. Felix exhibited an appreciation for our time together, for the knowledge he had taken in, a true fascination for the technology that so many people have taken for granted (me included). I looked at those traits and felt a bit embarrassed for merely expecting these things in my life. So, thank you Felix, you taught me more than I expected to learn that day, especially since you thought you were the only one learning. I’ll work to live my life with a bit more childlike wonder and appreciation for the tools and education available to me.
“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson