Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Have you ever felt the urge to say something, but didn’t know if you should speak up? Sometimes it’s wise to speak, and other times it’s prudent to be quiet. In my college years, I volunteered in the office of a great cardiologist, who was kind enough to allow an aspiring cardiologist to come into his office and learn from him.
Dr. A drew elaborate diagrams, teaching me physiology, anatomy and pathology of the heart. What an amazing highlight on this great journey, as I gleaned knowledge and wisdom, and dreamt of the day when I too could heal hearts!
One day, I rushed to get to his clinic, and sat in his office, observing Dr. A as he spoke to the patients. When I looked down at my feet, I couldn’t believe what I saw: two different shoes, a black one on the left and a burgundy one on the right. Not even remotely alike! What? An upcoming cardiologist? No, no, what would he say? Should I just speak up and tell him? Should I just lay low… and my mentor won’t notice?
When we went to the treadmill room, I decided to speak up, “Dr. A, I was rushing to get here after classes, and can you believe I grabbed two different shoes…you ever see anything like this in your whole life?” He looked down and busted out into laughter. He looked at the patient and said, “Look at my student, just look at him, you see the two different shoes? You know what that’s a sign of?” The patient was focused on walking on the treadmill. He didn’t know what to say, so he said, “No doctor, what does it mean?” Dr. A put his hand on my shoulder and said, “That’s a sign of a genius!”
An embarrassing setting turned into an opportunity of encouragement and acceptance. You would think a pair of shoes would soon be forgotten, but what Dr. A did so graciously has touched me deeply. It has thought me rather than tearing down, build. Rather than demeaning, inspire. Rather than mocking, embrace. And rather than jabbing, love.
What will you do with a pair of shoes?