Every Life Has a Story

Chick-Fil-A, a fast food restaurant headquartered in Atlanta and located mostly in southern states, has produced a video that they use for training team members that has gone viral on YouTube. The video is entitled, “Every Life has a Story”, and shows customers and workers in a Chick-Fil-A restaurant that look like a normal cross-section of America. As they pan across these individuals, they post captions that run the complete gamut of human success and elation and disappointment and sorrow. They show an immigrant that has recently achieved American citizenship and an elderly man that has just been declared cancer free. They also depict a young girl whose mother died in childbirth and her father blames her and a middle-aged gentleman who has just been laid off from his job.  Although they all seem to be functioning normally, they are all experiencing something that is not evident to the casual observer. The video is very moving and the point is that these are real people with similar joys and troubles that we all encounter in our lives and that they all should be treated with dignity and respect.

We recently had the occasion to treat a 15 year old young man who had several decayed teeth at least one of which required root canal therapy and a filling and ultimately a crown. Just as we were attempting to give him the injection to anesthetize the tooth, he would slowly close his mouth so that we couldn’t access the particular part of his anatomy that we needed to get the needle into. You could tell that he was trying his best but seemed to be almost oblivious to the fact that he was doing it. It occurred several times and after about the fifth or sixth attempt it became almost comical and both the assistant and I had to laugh. Well, we eventually got him numbed up and painlessly completed the root canal treatment and filling. We complimented him on what a great job he did and how brave he was.

That night when I called the family to see how the young man was doing, I spoke with his mother and she said that he was doing great and was actually looking forward to his next dental appointment. She also told me that several years ago his father was diagnosed with a brain tumor that they were only able to partially remove and he was given a short time left to live and he was forced to separate from his job. Now five years later, the boy’s father was still alive and functioning, but the mother said that since his father’s diagnosis the boy experienced a lot of emotional problems and was extremely afraid of physicians and dentists. We had no idea of all this but needless to say were thrilled that he had had a good experience.

The mother also told us that she noticed our connection with the “Mission of Hope” charity and our contributions to them. She said that their daughter had twice gone to Nicaragua with the “Mission of Hope” group and that they used to sponsor spaghetti dinners to raise money for the cause. They said when they saw our relationship to that particular charity they knew they were in the right place.

Well, we know the story and the background now, but how often does it occur that we never became privy to “the story”. The dentist office is often a very stressful place for some people and we may never find the reason why. It is incumbent upon us however to treat everyone we encounter with kindness and respect, because, “Every Life has a Story”.

See the Chick-Fil-A video on YouTube here