Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Morning Greeter

        Strange how we look at those that do something nice and immediately think that something must be wrong with them or that something is expected in return.  The human race is jaded and we oft-times miss the pure joys of being nice to others.  The elderly, grasping at the freshly cut thread of their life, often see that bringing joy can be the greatest joy there is.  They do this and the rest of us look at them and think how they have finally lost one too many marbles. 


          This is the limited story of one such man.  I only knew the man as the morning greeter.  I never knew the man or even had a conversation with him, but every morning, as I drove to school for an 8AM class, he was there waving from out of his wheel chair.  Not just at me, but to everyone.  In the rain, he had an umbrella, in the snow, he had a thick coat, but every morning he was there. 

          I, like most people, assumed at first that he was crazy.  At the very least, he had to be senile.  I started waving back out of sympathy, and would see the smile spread across his weathered black face.  This smile was contagious and you could not help smiling back.  So there I was, the man had me waving and smiling for no obvious reason at all.  Before I know it, I am looking forward to seeing this old black man wave at me every morning.  It just kind of started the day out the right way. 

          I had only moved into the neighborhood a few years before I started noticing this man.  The first couple of years, I had a job that allowed me to show up later in the morning, and the man was never out there by the time I went by his house.  I quit my job to go back to school and knowing parking was easier early in the morning signed up for 8AM classes.  This coincidence (or maybe it was fate) brought me to know the morning greeter.  Unfortunately, about three months later, he stopped coming out.  After a week of this, flowers started showing up on the fence in front of his home.  I knew what had happened before the flowers ever showed up though.  Lots of flowers showed up, a whole lot.  I wanted to go knock on the door and console the family in whatever way I could.  I regret to say that I did not.  I feel that a family's grief is a private thing.  Thankfully, the family thought of us in their time of pain and put a big poster-board thank you note up on the fence for all of us. 

          It is amazing how this old man at the end of his days touched so many lives by simply waving to people as they started their day.  It is a testament to the true power of kindness, and I believe there is a special place in heaven reserved for the man whose name I did not even know.  Morning greeter, I will miss you!

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Dancing Bear said...

Very nice. I have an old guy that waves to me currently. Crusty, white, shorts no matter how cold it is. I wasn't sure at first if he recognised my car but I am now because it has been several years now. I'll know one day thathe faced the same fate. I will probably find out the way you did. He watches a Parkin Lot so he still has the will to get up every day, face it, and smile at it all day long. I love getting older. I'm going to be a waver too. Good story Budd. I really can relate.

kat >>/dev/null said...

this is so sweet, and reminds me of so many remarkable people. Some I have lost, and I miss them more than anything.

gamany said...

such a touching story, budd. thanks for sharing.

Ama Duende said...

Great job! This is a really nice story.

Kirk said...

Wow, what a great essay, Budd. The publishing of it is deserved.There is a guy on the street over from mine who regularly sits out in his wheelchair, watching the world go by. He waves if he sees you looking at him. I always wave back. You've sort of inspired me to stop and actually talk to him next time I see him out. Thanks!