All I know is that he is a grandfather.
January 2009, I stood on a bridge taking pictures of Beijing's Bird Nest Stadium when a young boy approached me. He held a camera and pointed to a sweet older man standing nearby. I thought he wanted me to take a picture of the two of them.
Then the boy spoke... in decent English. He said his grandfather wanted to know if I would pose in a photo with him. The grandfather spoke no English,but he smiled shyly.
I'm used to observing others
Whether I'm traveling or just at the grocery store, I love people-watching. Maybe it's nosy, but I like watching how people interact with each other. How they work, play, walk, move... I like hearing conversations and wondering about people's lives.
But it never occurs to me that someone would ever be looking at me.
Such a brief encounter
I greeted the sweet man with a confused smile. Why would he want me in his photo? Then we both turned towards the boy and the camera clicked. We turned back to each other and the man gave a bit of a bow.
Luckily someone in my family snapped a photo as well, so I could see the picture later. I had to chuckle when I realized our ages weren't probably that far apart. And then I laughed bigger to notice how wide eyed the sweet man looked, compared to my squinting smile!
So Thank You, Grandpa!
I still have no idea why you wanted this photo, but I will always remember you, because you caught me by surprise when I was busy watching others. It's kind of fun to think, maybe I am the stranger in someone elses photo for a change!
To celebrate my birthday in April 2012, I decided to reflect on the past with a different kind of list. I've met a lot of people in my 55 years, but I'm going to stop and remind myself about the strangers I've met. These are people I met by accident, not through friends or work. For some reason, these strangers dropped into my life. Even though we may have only spent a few minutes together, these people have never been forgotten.
Each week, I'll spotlight someone I met in the past, who in some small way, made me stop and think.
Remember 55 Strangers