Leaving A Quiet Man SpeechlessPosted: March 7, 2012
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…
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.