Friday, November 20, 2015


My 2 days in Vegas were a whirlwind, but there is one event that will stay in my heart and mind for a long time. I have been trying to find the right words . . .

Wednesday evening, after a day filled with friends, reunions and great meetings, I decided I was going to be brave enough to play Blackjack. For real. With actual money. I found a table that had an open seat with very kind players and a dealer who was GREAT at teaching. As I got into my groove, a young man sat down in the remaining empty seat next to me and began to play. Being several drinks in (they were free!) I was chatty and we exchanged names and small talk. I detected a Middle Eastern accent. We reached a pause in the game when the dealer needed to shuffle the cards. Out of the blue I had a question I needed answered, so with my liquid courage, I asked where he was from. "Syria" was his answer, but there was defensiveness in his posture and voice. Then I asked, "Have people been kind to you since . . ." and I didn't know how to end the question. He ended it for me, ". . . since the war? No. They tell me daily to go back where I came from." He went on to explain his family fled several years ago to escape persecution, and they now manage/own a gas station. I was stunned. I know this kind of cruelty happens, but to have the proof in front of me broke my heart. I said the only thing I could think of, "I'm so very sorry." He smiled a sad smile and turned back as the next round was dealt.

This will haunt me for a while, mostly because it has me wondering what I can do to make the world, or at least the world around me a kinder place. I don't know that I have an answer, but saying "I'm sorry" seemed like a start.

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