A 'Good Morning' costs me nothing - Albuquerque Journal

A ‘Good Morning’ costs me nothing

On Aug. 31, at 8:40 a.m., I set out for my daily morning walk for exercise. Knowing I had about 45 minutes in which to walk, pick up aluminum cans for recycling and any coins I happened to find, I had a plastic bag, a house key, and my sunglasses.

I walked north on my street about three or four blocks, briefly greeting a neighbor out with his trimmer. I turned west, walked across the Walmart parking lot, then across Wyoming Boulevard, then down a paved alley just south of the Wendy’s. There are usually a few cans there, and it’s shady. It was already a warm morning.

First I noticed a man sleeping on a wide step, just long enough for him to curl up under a blanket. A few feet further was another man, already up, doing his best to get neatly groomed. I said “Good Morning,” and he returned the greeting. A few feet after that, another man, possibly a proprietor of one of the businesses that back up to the alley, was sweeping and raking some trash in the alley. I said “Good Morning” to him also, but he not only didn’t return the greeting, he didn’t even look up or turn around – no acknowledgement whatsoever. I thought to myself, “A Good Morning doesn’t cost a thing.”

I went on down that alley until it ended, waited a long time for the green light at Wyoming and Northeastern Boulevard, and started walking east toward home. I had gone just a short ways, picked up a few cans, and noticed an elderly woman in a wheelchair, trying to get across the street. The small front wheels of her chair had caught in the grooves of the grated covering over the storm sewer, and she couldn’t move. I called out “Do You need some help?” as I crossed over toward her. “I’m stuck,” she said. When I got there, I could see the wheels could not possible go forward. “Let me see if I can back you up and then go at an angle,” I said. I am not very big, and I’m nearly 80, but I was able to back the chair and the woman out of those grooves and turn the chair at a 45-degree angle, get it back to the smooth pavement and to the left, so she could turn in, possibly to go to The Dollar Tree.

“Thank you!” she said. I replied “You’re welcome! My pleasure!” and we parted. I walked on up the street, realizing that it really was a pleasure just to help another person, however briefly. I don’t know that woman, don’t know if she’s homeless, don’t know her story. She probably needs more help than I can give, but the help she needed right then was just 20 seconds of my time. It cost me nothing. We are both human beings, and therefore connected on this planet and in this city.

I went home feeling fortunate, to my house, which may be puny by some people’s standards, but unimaginably luxurious to most of the people on this planet. I have running water, electricity, a clean toilet, plenty of food and a comfortable bed. My closets are full, I have a car, I have a spouse and a family, and I can walk. What more could I want? I have not had an easy life, but I have a good life. I am connected to the people on this planet.

A “Good Morning” costs me nothing. Every homeless person is also a human being who deserves to live, to eat, to be clothed, and to be greeted when seen. They do not wish to take away our lives, our possessions, our homes. They only want to live, eat, have a place to sleep, and to hear someone say “Good Morning.” Can we overcome our fear and see everyone as persons?

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