“Good afternoon ma’am. It really is getting to be a warm afternoon out here. My name is Bob, I’m from the Sparklett’s Water Company, and this is my partner…oh my look at those beautiful faces.”
My children are peeking around me out the door.
“Yes they are,” I murmur before he continues.
“Well considering the current economic situation Sparklett’s has changed all their prices to way lower than they used to be. Do you drink tap water ma’am.”
“Yes we do. Most of the world wishes they had our tap water.”
Bob chuckles in surprise. “I really like your perspective.”
He doesn’t know what to say next. I’ve thrown him completely off script. So I say, “My husband and I started a non-profit organization to help Burmese refugee communities in northern Thailand, and one of our most pressing concerns is to figure out how to filter chemical pesticides out of drinking water. We live in a first world country, with potable tap water. That’s a real gift don’t you think?”
He still doesn’t know what to say, so I joke, “Do you think Sparklett’s would deliver there?”
“Well, maybe you could check out the website and maybe someone real high up in corporate could give you some help there,” he says. He’s reaching, stretching his brain in unexpected directions.
I doubt it, but I write down the url nonetheless.
Now he’s thinking. “Oh, you know what would do it? Charcoal. Just the charcoal from a fish tank. Filter water through there and it gets almost every thing out.”
And just like that a guy who was just doing his job a second ago is now actively participating, even for a second, in a life saving venture.
He tells me everything he knows about water filtration systems, which turns out to be quite a lot. I scribble a few things down. (I’m confident that the civil engineer we have on board who designs complete village water systems knows these things too. But a great idea could come from anywhere, even a water salesman.)
I thank him. He hands me a brochure and asks me to call if I ever change my mind, and then he bids us good-day before moving on to the next apartment.
“Who was that man mommy?” the kids all ask.
“Oh, he was just a man from a bottled water company, trying to sell us water.”
“But we don’t need that water,” the Boy declares. “Do we mommy?”
I hug him close and agree. “No sweetie. We don’t.”