Earlier in the week, while on my way to the grocery store (my big outing these days), I saw an elderly gentleman I haven’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic. You may have read about him before in this blog and this week I thought I’d share his story again. It was such a relief to see he’s survived these harsh times. He’s a good example of the little anchors that keep us tethered to the sweetness of life. Here’s his story…
He walks the neighborhood nearly every day wearing a utility vest and a big toothy smile. The belt loop under his round belly holds unopened garbage bags and he pulls one out when his pockets get full. He picks up cans, paper, and plastic and he waves at everyone who drives by. He’s Santa dressed as a handyman, fixing up the neighborhood and spreading good cheer.
In the morning, when I drive to the gym, I approach slowly so I can watch his face light up with each passing car. People honk. People wave. People smile. This guy’s our small-town angel – an anchor to goodness, to kindness, and to love.
It’s been years now that I’ve watched him perform this daily ritual and I’ve come to appreciate him as a teacher with a simple lesson plan:
Walk every day.
Leave beauty in your wake.
Smile at everyone you meet.
Sounds like quite a life purpose, doesn’t it?
Every time I catch him doing his thing, I’m reminded that we can all make a difference in small ways right in our own back yards. This man has never been on Oprah, doesn’t have a blog, and I suspect he’s not posting on or scrolling through Facebook. And yet every week he touches the lives of hundreds of people.
He certainly touches mine.
When I see him I often think to myself: It doesn’t take much to make your mark in the world.
And that’s a good thing to remember.