Before attending Sunset Seed Company’s closeout cookout on Saturday, I thought that it was just going to be an event where the community would rally and say goodbye to a local business for serving them for so long.
But after actually going to the BBQ and getting a sense of what it was all about, I realized that I was wrong. This was an event that was more than that. The community created a time and place dedicated to coming together to celebrate and honour one of their own.
This realization was made even more evident on Monday when I shared the story on the Advance’s Facebook page. After posting this news item, it immediately garnered hundreds of reactions and engagements.
Users flooded the comment section expressing their gratitude and appreciation for Tom Heal, the owner of Sunset Seed Company. While it’s sad for many to see the business close their doors for good, it dawned on me that several were going to miss Tom and his aura more than the goods that he sold.
The cookout was my first time actually meeting and speaking with Tom. It was a pleasant conversation, and it was clear as day to see how much he loved his job. But for Tom, it wasn’t the work that he loved the most — it was the relationships that he made through his work.
The community’s appreciation for Tom is certainly reciprocal. Throughout our discussion, he was constantly bringing up people and relationships. When I asked him what he was going to miss the most about the job, he said it was the people. He gave me the same answer when I asked him what he’s going to remember most from his time with the business.
Although I was only at the event for just over an hour, I walked away with a lot on my mind. After speaking with Tom, a thought occurred in my head: the relationships you cultivate through your work holds just as much value and significance as the work itself.
I think there’s a lot to learn from Tom’s story. For many of us, work can be a drag and can leave us feeling more antisocial than social, especially if it’s a job that you absolutely dread. But if you can learn to serve with kindness, that sort of kindness will be given back to you in one form or another. The energy you give is the energy you get.
When it’s time for you to go, people won’t remember every little interaction that they had with you, but they will remember how you made them feel.
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