|Image Courtesy of Morguefile|
Do you remember the time when your best friend was a complete stranger?
When you may have walked right past that person on the street without so much as an upward glance?
An amazing thing about human beings is that we have equally capable of great harm and great love to one another. It all comes down to choice.
There were plenty of times, more than I care to remember, when I was at my lowest and perfect strangers went out of their way for me. They fed me, trained me, kept me alive, and most importantly, taught me how to love and trust.
People like Cedric Saunders.
Oakland's 12th and Broadway is not a nice place to be, especially at night. Yet here was this security officer who kept me alive, and let me read comics in the bookstore he was guarding until the BART station opened up. He both brought me food from his home and when he couldn't do that, he bought my food. In the end, he turned me onto the security profession and got me one of my first jobs in San Francisco.
People like Daune "Dee" Paul Colvin the third.
The Tenderloin District of San Francisco is where every would-be bad ass should get scared straight. Dee, and his crew (Chad, Christian, Emalio, Terry) took me into their group. They humbled me, kicked my ass until I learned how to fight back. They fed me, taught me how to fend for myself and then made me do it. They gave a place to go, every night, whenever I needed it, even letting me sleep (sometimes) when I needed it.
And when it came time for us to put our hands up, they made me fight. They had my back but they made sure I held my own. Like sending a child out on a bike without the training wheels. I fell down a lot, but they made me pick myself back up. Until I quit falling down.
People like Jeff Hughes.
At a lower point in my life, when I had no one and next to nothing, he reached out to me. It was at the premiere of Star Wars Episode 3. For no reason other than to be kind, he welcomed me into his home, his group of friends, and his life. When I had no one, he showed up. It is a friendship we maintain to this day.
People like Linda Rosendale, Tessi Muskrat Rickabaugh, Adam Veile, and the rest of the Jefferson City Writer's Group.
They showed me I wasn't alone. They gave me an oasis where I could freely be my wild, creative self and I wasn't scorned. Quite the opposite, I was welcomed, encouraged, and inspired.
None of these people, not one of them, were forced to do what they did for me. Quite the contrary, each one of them could've left me to my own devices, and if they had, I'm all but certain I wouldn't be here to tell you their stories.
These are good people who went out of their way, when they didn't have to, to be there for someone they didn't know. And beautiful things have been the result of it.
Despite what the news would have you believe, the world is filled with good people. Tons of them. Let not one, two, or even a million bad experiences turn you off of the idea of helping someone. You never know what might become of it.
Thanks for reading.