Leaving A Quiet Man Speechless

The other day, I was at work. This should be news to no one. I work a lot. I had to start this post somewhere, I started it there.

I spent the day securing an annual event we have in town. As I went through my day, I saw the same elderly woman several times. I really had no interaction with her other than to smile and say “hello ma’am” the first time I crossed paths with her.

A few hours later, I was taking a break. I saw her leaving the event. She was bundled up against the cold weather she was going out into. A gentleman that I’m sure was her son was patiently escorting her toward the door. I smiled and nodded to them both as they passed.

I didn’t see them turn back toward me. I looked up as they were almost back to where I was sitting.

Where I Come From…

In Valor There Is Hope (image via jdzphotography)

Back in school, I was fairly quiet. My friends got a kick out of the idea that I wanted to work in criminal justice. One even told me that I was too nice. He pointed out that I could never be enough of a jerk to do the job.

I thought those people were wrong. I didn’t see jerk in any of the job descriptions I read. I had the idea that I could follow my calling and still be a good soul.

I still have to fight with my tendency to stay quiet. I struggle in one on one social situations, but I can charm a crowd.

At work, I can walk in and take over a room. I can put a rookie in his place with a look. The next day, I can calm that same kid down with a grin that says that we will be OK.

And when people are having their worst days, I am at my best.

At the end of the day, I hang my uniform and my career in a closet. If we met and I never told you what I’ve done for the past twenty-seven years you’d never guess. My friends tell me I don’t act like a cop. Mission accomplished.

…Is Where I Still Am.

I stood when I realized she intended to address me. I looked at her and said “yes ma’am?” She asked me to please sit.

She was an African-American woman in her eighties. Old enough to have been through the civil rights movement and more. Old enough to have seen some sad behavior from people who dressed for work back then like I do now. She’s been there, and if she thinks I need to hear something, I probably do. I sat.

She touched me on the shoulder. “You are the calmest man. I don’t know how you stay so, but I pray that you do. People mind what you tell them because you are calm and you are good. I was watchin’. God bless you for what you do.” They walked off, slowly out the door into the cold.

I am quiet and I am good at work. I am always in control of myself. No one ever sees me teary. Ever.

I found a back hallway take care of that.

I was right when I was young. I’m still right. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, the way I’m supposed to do it.

God bless you for what you do, ma’am.


36 Comments on “Leaving A Quiet Man Speechless”

  1. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    And this is another reason I like you so much. I wish I had that calmness about me.

  2. Todd says:

    Congratulations, Oma. What a lovely person to have taken the time to tell you you’re something special?

  3. Wendi says:

    Now you’ve got me teary Oma. I don’t know if you needed to hear those words in that moment but I hope they stay with you.

    • omawarisan says:

      Actually, I’m at a point that I did. It helps to remember that I do what i do for people, not the chain of command that I’ve lost faith in. I’m better off for having had the encounter.

  4. A fabulous, moving post!

  5. sekanblogger says:

    My hat is tipped to you. In a world that oozes manic, stressful situations, we need so many people just like you and the woman you describe.
    In my current full-time job (I also have a part-time), calm, quiet and unflappable people are in high demand but hard to be found. You see, I too am a public servant of a different stripe. I take care of mentally and physically disabled at a state hospital. Some of the behavior problems are beyond most people’s comprehension and the disabilities vary widely.
    Some behaviors can be wildly aggressive or self-injurious. It’s not something that good caregivers become numb to. Other behaviors are just seeking attention and approval at an extreme level.
    I see myself as having a comparable demeanor to yours while ‘on duty’. I’m good at this too. Co-workers tell me I’m good as this, as well as residents that I care for. It truly does take a calm and extremely patient temperament to accomplish these jobs with any level of decency.
    Rules, regulations and procedures can be taught, but I believe you are either come to this job with ‘the right stuff, or you don’t. You can’t teach a mean spirited, unsettled soul to be calm and compassionate. You have ‘the right stuff’. I only wish there was some compensation from the state for workers like you. Often, the only compensation is some thoughtful person’s words like the woman who spoke to you. Savor that moment, they are rare.
    As I said, our jobs have similarities.
    One thing I’ve observed is that the resident’s behavior often is a reflection of those in charge of attending to them. Easily unnerved and ill-tempered workers tend to cause the same in the residents.
    Well, I ramble, so I must ramble on.
    Good day and THANK YOU for serving!

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you for your work and the comment. I do a lot of work instructing on mental health issues. Those folks need good heads and hearts to help them make their world better.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you are doing. Those who remaim calm and steady in the face of events that are the opposite are the ones who have the greatest impact. The older I get, the more I appreciate this.

  7. Sometimes. . . ok, most of the time. . .my comments are of the smartypants nature. That being the case, I feel the need for a disclaimer that I mean this sincerely and admittedly awkwardly.

    This reads to me like a case of two very special people colliding and the rest of us benefitting from the reminder that very special people still exist.

    Thank you for the story and for the reminder.

  8. We Found Him Captain! says:

    With love for a good man and much respect ……..

  9. Debbie says:

    Wow! Your story touches me on many levels. I’m grateful you found your calling and are so good at it. Grateful at least one soul had the courage to bless you and remind you that what you do is important. Grateful you shared that with us!

  10. Blogdramedy says:

    Well…this post rocked my socks. I always wondered why you reminded me so much of John Wayne and now I know why. Do you have a horse and does it walk just like you?

    • omawarisan says:

      I don’t do well on horseback. And I think only people who have contact with live cows should wear a cowboy hat.

      • Blogdramedy says:

        Then I guess I better go get a cow because I just bought a cowboy hat Thursday in St. Augustine. I don’t wear hats well…I do sunglasses great. But this one fit just right and made me look kinda cute.

        But, you’re right…I’d look way cuter with a cow standing next to me. Or maybe that should be the cow would look cuter with me standing next to it…in my new cowboy hat. 🙂

  11. That’s a wonderful story…about a wonderful man. =)

  12. Linda Sand says:

    My best friend is a retired sheriff’s deputy. I think you two would get along well. I’m very good at panic so it helps to have someone good at calm around.

  13. KathiD says:

    Thank goodness you (and hopefully a few others) defy what’s expected of you and do what you do.

    I’m not quite as old as that lady yet, but I have learned to say an encouraging word when it’s warranted. It is so much more fun to find someone to compliment than to issue complaints.

  14. Awesome awesome post. As you probably know I lean towards law enforcement and military. I have a special place in my heart for you all.

  15. Patricia says:

    The woman saw a blessing and acknowledged it. How kind–and how wise. Thank you for being the man you are doing what you do.

  16. Lenore Diane says:

    I am happy for two reasons related to this post. First, the woman took the time to approach you and spread joy. Good for her! Bless her! Second, good for you for receiving her joy. Good for you for claiming it and owning it. Moreover, good for you for living by it.
    Yep, this post has lots of ‘good’ in it. Thank you for sharing this story, Oma.

  17. I’ve been away amongst the not so calm and just catching up. Thanks for a wonderful post and a reminder of what’s important.

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