The rough times in between street lanes

“Have a good home day, man,” she says.

Grateful to have finally made it to the front of my morning route’s busiest intersections, I roll down my window for a breath of fresh air and quickly contemplate rolling it back up. Someone carrying a sign and holding an outstretched hand paces between the lanes.

Instinctively it seems, car after car creeps up, subtly indicating the driver’s decision or inability not to fill the empty hand.

I learn that my instinctive reaction is to roll up the windows and lock the doors. Ashamed by my subconscious decision to treat this person as a threat, I keep the window rolled down but feel equally ashamed that I have nothing to give. Luckily, the car to my left does. The driver gives a short honk and holds out a small brown Dunkin’ Donuts bag.

The lady, a homeless mother her sign says, makes her way to the car where she repeats her thanks. Walking away, she tells the driver something that gets me thinking. “Have a good home day, man.”

I’m not sure what “home day” means, but maybe she meant to say that. Maybe she meant to remind us of the true luxury of having a home to return to. She has a total of three scars on her face, I calculate. The streets had gotten to her.

She walks to the sidewalk, one hand rummaging in bag. Her time in between street lanes is over, for now at least.

In mid-chew, she runs back into the street and gives the driver a smile and a thumbs up. Awesome. The driver throws a thumbs up and a smile right back.

In the span of one red light, I watched two strangers make the world go round. I wish her and the driver all the best, and I thank them both for giving us something happy to think about. There are people out there who have fallen on rough times and it takes a lot of guts to ask for change in this cold, cold world. Sometimes, all it takes is a small act of kindness to give someone the willpower to overcome. Have a good home day, you all.

 

 

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