RETURN TO EXPO: Part four – Shoji makes my day.

Just joining us? Be sure to read Part one of our #EXPOWEST adventure.

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Truth be told, this was my sixth nosebleed in about a month. The stress of the show, no doubt, and the insanely dry winter air in Chicago, were major contributors. The drought-like conditions in California had offered no respite. But still I had never had a nosebleed in my life when they started up a few weeks earlier and they scared the bejeebers out of me. What horrible harbinger of forthcoming illness were they? A physician friend had guided me through the necessary steps to take; but I had dreaded having one at EXPO. And now here I was having a nosebleed – and a real gusher – in the final moments of the second day. My sisters sat me down, got me the necessary supplies and headed back to sell, sell, sell – as the booth was still hopping – even though our floor had technically been closed for close to an hour.

It was not just the nosebleed that was so embarrassing. It was that – per doctors orders – I had to jam a tampon up my nose to get the bleeding to stop. Okay? Do you understand just how vulnerable I felt sitting quietly in the back corner of our booth holding a Kleenex over half my face so none of the 60,000 swirling shoppers would see that I had a tampon dangling from my nose. And of course, doctors orders, I had my head tipped forward. It was all very high drama. That’s when I heard just the kindest voice saying, “Mary, are you okay?” I looked up and into the soulful gaze of the most handsome young man standing just outside our booth. “Who are you?” I asked. “And how do you know my name?” Oh yes, I am a charmer at all times. I’m nobody, he responded smiling, and then he pointed to my dangling name tag. I guess anyone and everyone could see I was Mary Duggan. Fortunately he couldn’t see my other dangler.

I have a nosebleed, I explained. I continued to cover my nose and mouth with Kleenex. It was one level of embarrassment to say I have a nosebleed. It would have been a whole other matter to say “And yes, I have a tampon jammed up my nose.” I reassured him that I had been having a few of these lately (how reassuring!) and to not worry, my sisters had things well in hand. But, thank you, I said and tipped my head forward again.

A few minutes later he returned and this time he stepped confidently into our booth. He was bearing a small paper plate of chicken wings. “I asked around and found out that water and cayenne pepper are important when you have a nose bleed.” He tipped his head towards the bottled water beside me. That had been taken care of. “So I went to the Whole Foods booth and these wings are cooked with cayenne pepper. You will eat them, won’t you?” I assured him I would. He looked over his shoulder as he exited the booth, and pointed to the still uneaten chicken wings and made the international hang signal for EAT UP NOW and was gone.

I ate the spicy wings and awkwardly sipped the bottled water. The nosebleed cleared up almost immediately. And suddenly I wasn’t just some broken down and exhausted old broad in the corner of her trade show booth with a tampon jammed up her nose. I was a recipient. I had been bestowed upon. I had felt the dearest kindness from a complete and absolute stranger. The planet had opened before me as an essentially good and kind place where decency remains and compassion rules. My truest  beliefs about mankind had been made manifest before me – and at EXPO – of all places. It was transformational and powerful and stayed with me throughout the night. As my sisters honored my request to try to find this dear soul who had a Japanese name that I could neither pronounce nor remember, I feared I would never be able to thank him properly.

Fortunately, well into Day Three he popped up in my booth, again, checking on me. My Angel, I said, as I slipped away from a conversation that could well-handle the interruption. I hugged him and thanked him. My sisters got to meet him and we got to know his name, Shoji, and a bit more about him; and the all sorts of interesting things he is into and the companies he owns and the ways in which he might even be able to help us with our little endeavor. And he counseled me about the dangers of my long-neglected health status and on and on we chatted. I was so thrilled that he had stopped by; but I felt so bad to be having a wonderful chat while my sisters were selling so hard. My sisters, of course, would never have wanted me to feel that way. And so, I wrapped things up with Shoji sooner than I wanted to.

I share this simple story with you to celebrate what is essential here: the willingness of a person to reach out publicly and say simply – are you okay there? May I be of assistance? That experience should not be so rare and precious. This, I think, is what should be “natural” for all of us. It is this sort of free-flowing compassionate behavior that we are all supposedly hard-wired to exhibit. But it is rare. And so it was for me an enlightened moment; the human becoming divine, the correct behavior elevates the moment,  heals the wounded and is perfect. I don’t know if we will ever “do business” with Shoji. I don’t even care. I will never forget his lovely act of kindness. It is rare and precious and I feel honored to have met him. Even with a tampon up my nose.

customers_IMG_1605_shoji BEST

Whenever I meet a special young person I think about their parents, and what a wonderful job they have done. I hope Shoji Shinoda’s parents know what a wonderful young man they have raised. I imagine they do.

Don’t miss out on Part Five, the Conclusion of our RETURN TO EXPO.

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About the author:

Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters

The Duggan Sisters cracked the code and created a natural deodorant that actually works: lifestinks. And that was just the beginning. We hope you will spend a few minutes exploring to experience their spirited approach to wellness through their natural products and healing stories.

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