Ezra Turner is blind.
He has every reason to be angry with the world, to feel that injustice has been done to him. He is in love with a waitress from a diner, who doesn’t give him the time of the day. If he decided to go down the dark path, he would get sympathy from every corner.
He has trained himself to be a functional member of society. Though a vegetarian, he works as a customer service representative for a company that sells meat products. A blind customer service representative who works for a company that sells meat products.
And most importantly, instead of feeling anger (rightfully or not), he is slow to anger.
What Would You Do When a Customer Attacks You Viciously for No Reason?
Imagine for a moment that you are Ezra Turner.
You are trained to deal with angry customers, no doubt. You are trained to be polite with indignant customers who get nasty. What if a customer gets personal with you, calls you out on being blind, and rips you apart in the most inhuman, callous way? What would you do?
If that customer taunts you with the following words:
The blind beef salesman is trying to help me? I’m actually beginning to feel pretty bad for you Ezra. Because I look at my life and it is surrounded with so much beauty. You can’t see s***. Is that fair? Does that seem fair to you Ezra? Do you even know what color the ocean is? Do you?
How would you respond?
I would probably choose some response instinctively which is either defensive or unkind. My response would likely cost my job.
The one thing I would not have done is what Ezra Turner did. He took a deep breath. He smiled, and replied to the customer, “It is blue, sir”.
It is blue, sir.
What a patient, graceful response, to a vicious diatribe.
Who is Ezra Turner?
Ezra Turner is a character played by Woody Harrelson from a movie called Seven Pounds.
The customer Ben Thomas (played by Will Smith) launched this verbal attack against Ezra to test whether he was a candidate for an act of kindness that Ben wanted to bestow.
Ezra’s graceful response meant that he was a worthy candidate and did indeed get the gift from Ben. Watch the movie (or clips from YouTube) to know what gift Ben gave Ezra.
It is not often that a side character in a movie profoundly impacts me. Ezra Turner was a pleasant exception, inspiring me to be like him. If I could respond like Ezra Turner in the face of the most unpleasant invectives, I would feel like I’ve achieved something.
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyO7pu4KJW8
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Kristopher Roller on Unsplash