Get Mellow

701. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

It seemed late at night even though it was not yet 9pm. I was riding the light rail from the airport and like the other 3 passengers in the compartment I was staring out the window. Tired and lost in thought as only happens at the end of travels, we were all alone together. So I was surprised when a hand touched my shoulder and he said, “Can you spare some change?”

I looked at him for a moment. I was disoriented from 22 hours of travel and he misread my stare as hesitation. “I want to buy a meal,” he insisted. Then he added, “…another meal. I only need 4 quarters.” He averted his eyes. I had 3 quarters, 2 dimes and a bunch of pennies in my coat pocket. It was the only money I had after my weird travel week. I dumped the change in his hand.

He took the change and held out his hand, “My name is Mellow.” I shook his hand, “My name is David.” He sat in the seat opposite from me. “People see me as the enemy,” he said. “I’m not the enemy. I’m not the bad guy.” He averted his eyes again and said, “I used to be the enemy. When I was younger I did some stupid stuff. Now, I’m having a hard time getting on top of things.”

“Why is that?” I asked, shifting into coach mode before I realized what I was doing. He scrutinized me before saying, “You aren’t judging me at all. You’re asking me a real question, aren’t you?” I nodded. “I drink too much,” he whispered. “I asked for money so I could get beer, not food.” He looked to see if I was now judging him. I wasn’t.

I asked, “Are you doing what you want to do?” He shook his head and then said, “I don’t know what I want to do. Not really” He looked at me again and said, “I’m not a bad guy. I don’t hurt people.” Then he sat up straight and said, as a challenge, “No one’s ever cared about what I want! You don’t really care, do you!”

“You’re right. What I think doesn’t matter at all. If I care or don’t care doesn’t matter. The only question that matters is, do you care about what you want? If you don’t care, why should I? I can’t help you know what you want to do. That’s your job, not mine.”

He wrinkled his brow and said, “I’m thinking too much about other peoples’ eyes.” We smiled. I said, “You’re not the enemy, remember?” He smiled bigger. I leaned in like a co-conspirator and whispered, “I’ll tell you a secret. You can’t possibly know what other people think. You can only know what you think and from what you tell me, you’re not a bad guy.”

One Response

  1. Lovely, David. You’re teaching me about ‘acceptance without exception’, and kindness.

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