The Floor One relationship is usually transactional in nature. We encounter dozens of people a week with whom we exchange simple greetings: the barista at Starbucks, the mailman, the clerk who checks us out at the market. We ask “How are you today” without really expecting much of an answer, and others respond with “Fine, thanks” no matter what they’re really feeling or thinking.
Spaulding tells the story of applying for a prestigious Rotary scholarship, one that will give him a year of study abroad. By the time he applies, Spaulding is in college; he managed to find one small school that would take a chance on his academic record. He applies for the Rotary scholarship and is notified that he is one of ten finalists. Spaulding travels a very long distance back to his home town to meet with the selection committee. When he arrives at a local restaurant for the interview, he sees the group of tense and wary competitors lined up to wait their turn. The finalists’ name tags read like a Who’s Who of prestigious universities: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. All but Spaulding’s, which read: East Carolina University. His spirits and confidence plunged as he considered the competition.