The Power of Trust

Ian Johnson
February 10, 2015

The Power of Trust

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I started to think about what that I’ve grown to love here in Barcelona. Since doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic, I decided to think in broader terms. Forming a list wasn’t a difficult task. The city of Barcelona offers so many incredible things to love. But once I had my list, I struggled to select the one thing I love most about Barcelona. After much deliberation however, I have made my selection.

I love the people of Barcelona.

There is a kindness to the locals here in Barcelona that amazes me everyday. They are generous, helpful, honest, and trusting. I could continue on forever writing down adjectives that describe just how amiable Barcelonans are, but I feel that a short anecdote may prove much more effective.

The Power of Trust

After my second week in Barcelona, I decided it was time to do a bit of touchup in my bedroom. After purchasing a wonderfully scented candle from a nearby home goods shop, I realized I would also need a lighter. I walked across the street into a small “supermercat” and asked (in Spanish, of course) to purchase a lighter.

An old man handed me the lighter.

“Dos euros por favor,” he said.

I reached into my wallet.

“Ah, lo siento senor. Tengo una tarjeta de credito, pero no tengo otro tipos de dinero ahora.” (Translation: Sorry sir. I have a credit card, but I don’t have any other type of money right now.)

The old man looked at me and then at the candle sitting in the small white bag I had left resting nearby the register. He smiled.

“En la manana, traeme dos euros,” he said.

The old man handed me the lighter.

The power of trust is uncanny. This man knew nothing about me. All he knew was that I was a visitor from the United States who spoke broken Spanish and needed a lighter. But he trusted me. He handed me the lighter after politely asking me to bring him two euros the next morning.

As a visitor, I am very careful to be polite and mindful with every interaction I have with the locals here in Barcelona. But this isn’t just because I’m afraid come off as offensive— I have grown to respect and appreciate them. As this old man so powerfully taught me during my second week here, these people are willing to welcome me into their country as a friend, neighbor, and fellow companion. They are willing to trust me, respect me, and most importantly, let me into their daily lives and interactions.

I returned the next day and handed the old man three-euro.

“Gracias por su amabilidad y confianza,” I said. (Translation: Thank you for your kindness and trust.)

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Ian Johnson

<div>I am a junior undergraduate at Indiana University&rsquo;s Kelley School of Business, majoring in Marketing &amp; International Business. I am also a member of the Kelley Consulting Workshop &mdash; a program geared toward building analysis, presentation, and teamwork capabilities for a competitive career in consulting. I am currently pursuing a career in Marketing Strategy and Brand Development. As a value-driven individual passionate about holistic health and well-being, I continue to search for new opportunities to contribute to the health and longevity of our people and planet.</div>
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Destination:
Term:
2015 Spring
Home university:
Indiana University
Major:
International Business
Marketing
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