Sunday, September 26, 2010


Setting: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, restroom, 12:16 p.m.

One man, white, 30s, a visitor for all of two hours to the city, moves to wash his hands. Another considerably older man, African American and probably a longtime resident of the area, is putting new paper towels in a dispenser nearby. He's the one to speak first.

"And how are you doing today?" The one being spoken to, as a rule, doesn't much care for making conversation in a restroom. Never has. And yet? The words come out rather easily.

"I'm just fine. How are you?" He doesn't much expect an answer. At least not the one that comes.

"I'm doing pretty great. I'm feeling blessed. I'm trying, just like God himself tried." The other doesn't much respond to this, but he does get some of those new towels to wipe his hands on. By this point, the blessed, working man has ambled over to another sink, replacing more towels. He sings to himself on his way there, too.

The bathroom visitor hurries away and hears "Have a safe flight!" from the gentleman so involved and happy to be doing what he's doing. It's practically a goodbye. A goodbye for a incredibly short conversation he felt was already over.

Maybe he could have spoken with him longer, he thinks. Maybe he should have been as open and generous as the other had been. Or maybe not. Still, he's lifted. He will think of this example of unexpected kindness the remainder of the day, this Sunday. It's only right.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Where's the "Like" button on this one? Because I do.