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i forgot to write about this moment.

sometime maybe 25 days into my 40 days of lent deal, i had to stop to get gas on my way somewhere. The place i usually get gas is on the corner of Carrolton and Earhart.

every now and again, there's this ratty black homeless guy who works that gas station with a rag and a bucket full of water. He goes to prospective gas pumpers and says to them, "here, let me take care of your windshield" or something similar with the hopes of getting some money from you. Earlier that month i had already told him i didn't need it and i didn't have any money to give him in any case (which was half true at the time because the only thing in my wallet was 100s i was taking to the casino).

This time around, he came up to me and said something like, "hey buddy" or something (as a general greeting, he didn't recognize me), and i immediately responded something like, "how are you doing, sir?" He stopped in his tracks briefly, and then his face kind of lit up. "Sir!" he said. "you're all right man, for calling me sir! i like that! i like you! you're all right, man!" and so on, laughing.

and it struck me: i made his day just by calling him sir, by treating him like a human being, an individual.

the energy of the conversation that we had was pretty positive. He said, "let me wash your windshield for you," and i said, "well, i don't really need it," (because honestly i didn't want him to make it dirtier given the state of his rag and equipment) "but here's a dollar for you anyway," and gave him a dollar, shaking his hand, and clapping him on the shoulder. And his face was still lit up and he asked for a hug, and in my head i thought 'what the hell' and i hugged him.

he smelled like a mixture of dirty human and alcohol. but it was still an awesome hug, you know? it was great.

He smiled and said thank you and went on his way to the next guy, and it was only right after that happened that i remembered that i had my camera in my pocket and realized that i missed an opportunity. I should have given him a dollar to be in a picture with me. Probably would have been me holding the camera, arms around each other as if we're old friends, smiling at the camera.

it would have been a great picture. Still is, in my head. Maybe next year.

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Comments

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truthmonkey42
Apr. 9th, 2010 12:09 pm (UTC)
It's amazing, isn't it? People of ALL social levels are SO unaccustomed to kind greetings, or, I don't know... signs of Respect (except those that demand it but don't really deserve it) that it really can make a huge difference in a person's day. I hold doors for people when I go places, or letting a senior citizen go ahead of me in the super market and the sheer, visible smiles and thanks is astounding... Little things like "please, thank you, sir, madam" are being lost as everyone is concentrating on...well... themselves...
catbus
Apr. 9th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
That's so sweet :)
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