15 minutes with Tim!
How do you possibly pass through San Francisco without stopping on a gorgeous Friday in October? You can't, if you're an out-of-towner from Texas. If you talk yourself into spending just 1 hour in this glorious city, how do you limit yourself? You pay a 1-hour meter on Market Street and imagine the annoyance of fines and towing. And then how do you spend that precious hour? You spend 1 quarter of that time with a stranger named Tim.
One Hour Meter
It was 11 a.m. when my husband found an open space. We paid the meter and raced across Market towards the bustling area in front of the Ferry Building. We assumed the perfect weather had drawn crowds, but then noticed tents...then posters and a few chanting voices.
It was Occupy San Francisco! We had expected to see some street vendors and maybe some musicians in the area, but never thought we would be spending an hour in San Francisco experiencing the movement we had only seen on TV up to this point.
"Have you heard about the Occupy movement?"
Those were the words Tim approached us with. Don and I are usually pretty open to this kind of conversing, but I could hear my watch ticking. I had a camera and I didn't want to waste too much time chatting. But here was this articulate, young man approaching us with a welcoming smile. Even though he possibly needed money, he made it clear that he was not looking for any, he was just out there supporting the movement by talking with people. In our 15 minutes of chatting we learned of Tim's personal frustration with the healthcare system when he was the victim of a hit and run incident...and learned just how helpless the poor can be. But not once was there a flavor of negativity in Tim's voice. Unlike angry protesters shown on TV, he showed a great deal of hope, assuring us that both sides would come together to work towards reform. He spoke about the police he'd spoken with over the past few days. He knew how difficult their job was dealing with these crowds. A few days earlier Tim said he'd been reminded that everyone involved in this movement is human... when he watched a policeman tearing up while listening to the moving speech of a protester.
Tim headed off to talk to others...
And Don and I walked over to the water and soaked up a few heavenly moments... before grabbing sandwiches from a food cart to eat in the car.
You made me aware of how many different kinds of people are in involved in making change happen. There are angry people and frustrated people. Thoughtful people and hopeful people, like you. I'll think back to this movement in future years and remember how Don and I chatted with you on a beautiful October morning. I already wonder what you're up to now. I imagine you'll do good things in the future with your positive attitude.
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