Stranger 34, Day 34 – Meet Reese, the “‘Practicer’ of What She Preaches”

Stranger 34, Day 34 - Meet Reese

Today, I added to my list my 7th rejection (total, first today). This Stranger was flatly uninterested. Won’t lie, I was shaking a little because of the rejection. It’s never easy. So it took me a little while to walk around and muster the courage to try again.

As I walked around, I spotted a young woman who intrigued me the moment she sat down. Why? Well because she had a second monitor tethered to her laptop. I’m a nerd so I find lugging dual monitors to a Starbucks friggin’ awesome. I walked up to her, gave her my little pitch, and she was excited to do it. This was great because despite her looking very busy in the glow of two monitors, she took a few minutes to talk to me… a Stranger.

Meet Reese, 23

Who are you?

“Wow… who am I?” she asks.

“I’m a recent graduate who is still figuring out her life!” Reese laughs. She’s actually here in Atlanta on a business trip and visiting her brother. Otherwise, she lives in Dallas, TX.

“I have a job which I don’t plan on staying for forever, or that much longer. So just kind of figuring out what I want to do.”

What is it that you might want to do?

“So, I studied biology. I was pre-med, and then I work in consulting — nothing to do with science. So I want to back to school and be in more of the medical field. That’s my passion.” Reese smiles and laughs.

I make the comment that I noticed her two screens with the common black laptop that consultants have. She laughs and says, “Now, I’m just spoiled — I can’t just use one screen.”

What are your passions? Do you have any dreams, and if so, what are they?

“In college, this answer probably would have been so different. In college, I was an athlete, so my passions were ‘be successful in swimming’. That life is over, so my passions now really are being healthy and fit. Being successful in my job and strive to do better — always challenging myself. I’m the type of person who is never content with the current state, so I always push to do better. So my dream is to go to grad school — P.A. school is what I want to do — and become a Physician Assistant while being active and fit and healthy!”

I ask Reese what she’s learned to stay healthy and fit while she’s consulting, especially while on the road. This was a comment many asked me when I was consulting, so was curious of her advice.

“Luckily, I don’t have the Monday through Thursday travel that most consultants do. Mine are more sporadic,” Reese starts before I point out that we’re speaking while she’s on the road on a Thursday night. Haha

“Yeah, I haven’t traveled in a bit, though. It’s nice every time I do. So normally, it’s pretty easy. I like working out in the mornings — that’s what I do. But even while I’ve been here, I’ve been able to work out everyday. I think just being disciplined. I could work forever. I could work all night long. Knowing when to stop and just take an hour break and get some endorphins running…”

Why do you want to get into the medical field? Why do you want to be a P.A.?

“I’m a very caring person. I’m very giving, so I want to help others, really.”

“… in a more meaningful way for me. Meaningful is more ‘hands-on’. Someone is struggling, needs help, I want to be there for them. Consulting, I’m helping people, but it’s a different way. It’s more for business. That’s just who I am, I guess!”

Is there anyone who has been a great influence for why you want to help?

“My mother is a super caring person, but I haven’t had any doctors in the family. I would say my mom has influenced me.”

Do you recall any times in the past when she was really, really caring for you? What comes up?

“I call her everyday. We’re super close. Anytime I have a problem, she’s there regardless of what time it is. The first thing that comes to mind…” Reese thinks.

“One time, I was in India. So time change is like 12 hours. I got stuck in a situation. I call her, and it’s like 2AM for her, and she almost booked a flight to come out to me. She’s just a really caring person that always wants to be there. I want to do that.”

Right now, you’re not a P.A., but how do you exercise that caring personality for friends or even Strangers?

“With my friends now, I think I’m a pretty caring person. I think with Strangers, too, just because you don’t have an emotional bond with them, you still don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone. So I might not feel emotionally connected to them, but I still think I would want to help them. Anyone here, if something happen to them, I would try to help them possibly.”

Have you ever had a Life-Defining Moment?

“I don’t know… that’s a tough question. Nothing comes to mind. Just a lot of different experiences jumbled together. All the experiences I’ve been through have made me to where I am, really. Even the ones that have been tough, but at the moment, even horrible, just works out.”

She mentioned she had some really tough moments that likely put her to where she is now, especially one, but she wasn’t up to telling me. No prob! I can appreciate that different people share different things — that’s the beauty of talking to others.

Is there a common misperception about you that you would like to dispel?

“That’s a good one. I don’t know what people who don’t know me think of me. Hard to answer.”

I ask her what about the people who may know her even just for a short time.

“I pretty much am a pretty open person. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I think people that know me for a short period of time still will get to see the real me for the most part. If I’m made, they might see it. If I’m sad, or I’m happy… I usually show those emotions. I don’t hold back necessarily.”

I share with her how a lot of people used to think of me as an “asshole” because I was pretty “intense” before or how I was very driven, and it sometimes rubbed others the wrong way.

She related… “I’m a very intense person. I’m kind of competitive… I’m very competitive,” Reese laughs. “… so people might think I’m competing against them, when I may not necessarily be competing against them. I might just be competing against myself. Just wanting the best for myself. Not that I want the worst for the other person. It’s just… I’m hard on myself, so they might think I’m rude or too competitive.”

“I sometimes think people think I’m judging them — ‘why is she being so intense about the stupidest or the smallest thing.’ I can just take a chill pill-kind of thing. I can see that.”

How do I get your job? (Thanks to Jarvis, Stranger 33)

“I would love to ask a P.A. how do I get your job!” Reese laughs.

Thinking about this from a consultant’s perspective… “I think you need to have good interpersonal skills. For my actual job, we work with this software, so you would just need to get training in that software. Once you get training in that, and pass a series of interviews, and have the right skills to be a consultant… definitely driven. Definitely not afraid to work overtime. We put in a lot of hours, but really, you can speak to clients and have that customer service, I think you can have my job.”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“If you had unlimited resources, what would you love to do?”

“So unlimited resources meaning money, time, anything. What’s your favorite, most passionate… biggest thing you want to do?” Reese says it doesn’t have to be work-related. It could be anything like a “personal experience”.

After the handshake.

As we decided on how to take her picture, she seemed pretty excited to do a running pose. She used to swim all the time in college, but since, she’s running more. Also, running was a reflection of her today — “go, go, go!” Ha, I like it.

After our talk, a man came into Starbucks and was talking about losing his wallet but needed to get to some other part of town, but needed money. I’m hugely skeptical of these situations especially when someone starts layering in detail after detail. I didn’t know what this man was talking about, but it was clear he wanted money. Well, let Reese practice exactly what she told me just minutes earlier — if someone needed help here, she would do what she could. So here, I watch Reese as she dug into her purse and brandish a couple dollar bills.

Where I am highly skeptical, Reese probably saw what I saw, but she let her optimism of people (and yes, a Stranger) and her care for others win. She does what she says. She sees someone in need (whether a ride is the real need or something else), she helps. So here I am now typing this and wondering if speaking to Strangers will motivate me to be more like Reese. Will I start to see the light of people rather than continue to paint Strangers’ situations in dark based on skepticism? I’ll noodle on this for a while…


Reese, you’re going to make a great P.A. if you continue to care about others, no matter who they are, where you are, and how you get over misperceptions you (we) have.

Meet Reese. No longer a Stranger.

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