So it finally happened, and I wasn’t prepared.
I work in retail management and I usually only go on the register to back up. Last week, we had a rush and I opened up an extra register to get the line down. I had one customer left before I was going to get off. It was a girl who looked to be in her late teens, and she was with her brother and her mom.
As she put her purchase on the counter, we made eye contact and I was shocked to see that she had eyes that looked like mine! I was pretty sure it was BPES, but I didn’t want to stare too closely. She kind of looked at me too, as if she was checking out my eyes, and her mom and brother kind of stared and smiled at me.
I had always thought that if I ran into someone who looked like they had BPES, I would say something. But in the moment, I kind of froze, and I think the girl did too. I realized that I didn’t know what to say. What if I said, “Hey do you have BPES?” and she didn’t! I would feel badly if she just had unique eyes and I made an assumption about her. I feel as though having BPES has made me sensitive to people staring and asking questions. I was curious, but I wouldn’t want to make her feel bad.
Now that the interaction is over and I have had time to reflect, I do regret not saying anything, but I decided to prepare in case it ever happens again. I was thinking I could have just asked her if she had ever heard of BPES, and that might have been a way to start a conversation. I am also going to try to think of a few other “ice breakers.” That way if I ever find myself in this situation again, I will already know what to say.