I was talking to one of my coworkers today, who mentioned watching some documentary about the Holocaust, and what a horrible event it was. It reminded me of the time I met a survivor. It was during the first year I was working @ my current job, back in 2002. In addition to shipping orders out we also sometimes have customers come pick their order up from us (we call those “Will Call” orders). So I’d gotten an order for a walker, the customer address was somewhere in Israel, and it was a Will Call order. When I got the paperwork I joked to the salesperson “that’s a long way to drive just for a walker,” but she said that the customer was a local resident, who was going to be flying to Israel to visit relatives or something, and would be taking the walker with them on the flight. So when the man came to pick it up, I went to give him the walker. I was up on a dock, and the customer was on the ground, so I handed the walker down to him, and as he raised his arms to reach for the walker, the shirt sleeve on his right arm pulled back, and I noticed the numbers tattooed on his forearm, and I immediately recognized what that was. I totally played it off, as if I didn’t notice anything, just handed him the walker, had him sign the paperwork for it, and he went on his way, but in my mind I was like WHOA. To actually see something like that in real life, realizing what it meant and what this person went through, just hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a humbling experience, I’d say.
What made it even more significant today, as I told my coworker about it, was when she asked me how old the man was. It’s funny, but all these years I hadn’t even thought about that. @ this point, it’s been so long that I don’t remember the man’s face that clearly, and I’m no good @ guessing people’s ages anyway, but this man was still able to drive, and travel, and pick up the walker as I gave it to him, so he couldn’t have been THAT old, like not in his 80’s or 90’s. But even if this man was in his late 60’s-early 70’s, well, WW II ended in 1945, which means that whenever he was in a concentration camp he would have been a little kid! Maybe around 10 years old, @ the oldest. That just makes the experience even more significant to me now. I kinda wish I had said something to him about it back then, not to pry or bring up bad memories for him, but just to let him know I’m glad he survived. I mean, I can’t even imagine what being in those camps was like, especially as a child.
Appreciate every moment you’re here, folks. Things can ALWAYS be worse.
And to all the Holocaust-deniers out there: Go f**k yourselves.