By Tom Barnard, 2019 IndyBar President, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
For the past 30 years, I have always looked forward to my haircut because of the man who cuts my hair. Located in a hair and beauty shop on the ground floor of our downtown office building for more than 30 years, Winston is just an escalator ride from the main lobby. But this is no ordinary escalator ride. Waiting at the bottom of those mechanical stairs is a man who possesses a passion and skill for identifying the positive meaning to be extracted from the bumps and bruises we all experience.
Winston is a loving father and grandparent, an independent businessman and a generous spirit. His favorite phrase, after commenting on some current event or turmoil in the news, goes something like this: “With all the beauty and brilliance in our world, we can handle these problems and end up better off than before.” He talks about kids and the importance of giving them three things: love, education and appreciation of their points of view. Here is an example: When I mentioned how frustrated my wife and I are with our daughter constantly being late in getting ready for school, always pushing the time limits, he said, “Well Tom, she’s just doing her job to see if you’ll do your job!” I had not thought of it that way. But most of all, he talks about the good things people do in our world that makes our time here so precious. Winston sees things that I don’t see in a way I’ve never considered and from a perspective I’ve never encountered. My conversations with him expand my understanding and appreciation for people or events, and they always end with a positive takeaway.
Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Every time I take that escalator ride up from Winston’s shop after a haircut and conversation, I feel better, I feel special and I feel uplifted. I wish everyone reading this column could spend time with Winston. We would live in a more harmonious, empathetic and supportive world where individuality, personal successes and failures and daily life challenges would be filtered through the color of goodness. Winston has a way of defusing disagreements between parties by allowing all interested persons the benefit of the doubt. By assuming an inherently positive motive in every situation, he reframes turmoil into opportunities to fully appreciate the “beauty and brilliance” of our human existence.