When did we get too busy to be inclusive?

During my travels I was struck by a situation that made me really question how, as a society, we have become too busy to notice what is around us and how we make others feel included.

Let me share what happened.

I was standing on a train platform. As it was towards the end of the commuting rush hour a lot of people had got off the train and were busy rushing onto the next part of their lives. As the crowd moved on there was a lone person on the platform - looking confused and not knowing which way to turn - this gentleman was visually impaired and carrying a white stick.

I saw a number of people pass him in a rush, look back in his direction and then carry on walking.

After what seemed like an eternity but must have been a minute, the gentleman was still there, walking hesitantly...

I walked up to him, introduced myself and asked if I could help in any way?  He sighed and said “I’d really like a member of the staff here to come and help me find my next platform”. I offered to take him to the platform if that would help, his response, “I really don’t want to take your time - if you could find me a member of staff they can do the rest”.

I guided the man to a travel assistant and asked if they could support the gentleman with his request. I then asked if he needed anything else from me.

His response - “No thank you. I am just so grateful someone took time out of their day to notice when someone needs support!”

That stuck with me for the rest of the day. I even shared the story with my client in a strategy session I ran later that day.

In a world where we talk passionately about creating more inclusive workplaces - when did we get too busy to notice that being inclusive is just as much about noticing when people need support and taking action?

If we’re all too busy in our lives will we really have the time to look up and see what is right under our noses? Creating inclusive workplaces that work for everyone is about supporting others when needed... and noticing when it’s needed!