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A simple thing...a powerful moment...

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posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 10:00 AM
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I went grocery shopping. Not the kind of thing you would think would lead to some kind of life changing event. Well...

I made my rounds in the store, had my items in my cart, and headed to the front of the store to check out. Of course, the lines were long and moving very slowly. I have learned to look at the faces of the people waiting in the lines to get an idea of how well the line is moving. These were some angry people. I resolved myself to just picking a line and waiting it out.

I was sitting there looking at the items in my cart, wondering if I had forgotten anything, when I noticed the man in front of me. He was a black man holding a case of bottled water under his arm. I thought to myself, that must be heavy. I could see the edge of the carton cutting into his arm from the weight of the water. It looked uncomfortable, if not downright painful. Inspiration struck.

"Excuse me," I said. The man moved a little farther forward, but did not look at me or address me in any way.

"Excuse me," I repeated hoping he would engage me in some way. Instead he moved a little farther forward and to the side a bit.

"Excuse me, sir," I said again, my tone suggesting I was seeking a reply. He turned with a bit of a huff and said "I moved as far as I can. What do you want me to do?"

I was a bit taken aback. I could feel eyes on me and I looked around and everyone in the lines around us was looking at me. The lines were a even mix of white and black people. There was one black woman I noticed in particular. She was just openly staring at me like I had a lemur growing out of my forehead.

"That looks heavy," I said gesturing to the case of bottled water. He just stared at me and said nothing.

"Why dont you put that on my cart while we are waiting?" His head snapped back a few inches like I had hit him or something. It was suddenly very quiet around us. It was one of those weird moments where everything just kind of goes in to slow motion.

He just stood there looking at me. I was confused and looked around at the other people there, who by now had stopped what they were doing and were watching this unfold, hoping to find a clue on how to proceed. The black woman who had been openly staring at me said, "He probably never had a white man be nice to him...he doesnt know if its a trick or not."

Now it was time for my head to rock back a few inches. I let that thought sink in and find its place.

"You can put that water on my cart while we are waiting. Its ok, I dont mind."

He inched forward and put the case of water on my cart. He showed me the welt on his arm from the edge of the carton. I said, "Ouch."

He almost laughed and said, "Yeah." His shoulders, which were up around his ears, began to relax a bit and he smiled at me. I smiled back. The black woman watching us was frozen in place. The line moved forward a bit and I pushed the cart up, case of water and all.

The man looked at me and said, "Thank you. I didnt know what you meant when you said excuse me."

"No problem," I said. "I know I wouldnt want to have to carry that thing, and I figured you didnt want to either."

He laughed again, this time a little more relaxed. I felt my own shoulders drop down from around my ears a bit too. The lines moved again and he put his water on the conveyor. He said, "Thank you," again when he took the water off my cart. The black woman that had been watching this event was just shaking her head like it didnt make sense.

The black man paid for his water, looked back at me and smiled, then walked out the door. The black woman that had been watching was paying for her groceries in the aisle next to mine. I paid for mine and headed out the door. After putting my groceries in my car I started to leave and saw the black man again driving by in front of me. He smiled again and waved as he went by. I smiled and waved back. The black woman was standing at the edge of the parking lot waiting for our cars to go by. She smiled when I went by and waved.

It was such a simple thing. It never occurred to me that it would change anyone. But at least three of us left that parking lot changed. I realized how sad it was that that man couldnt even consider the idea that all I wanted to do was offer a little kindness to him. The woman watching was obviously seeing something she had never seen before.

I admit, I was a little nervous. I live near Chicago, and there are some general rules you follow, especially in the city. Dont make eye contact. It may be taken as a challenge. You just dont to it unless you have to. You could be identifying yourself as a target. Its sad, but that is how it is. I was fairly confident in my surroundings and generally I dont worry about being able to take care of myself. I made the effort, and I am glad I did.

Grocery shopping... Who would have thought...
edit on 22-11-2015 by Vroomfondel because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 10:11 AM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel

That just seems so foreign to me. I am happy that you three had that experience and that others in the store, the onlookers, saw the example of how people are people regardless of skin color.

I've lived in bigger cities but, they were in the "south" primarily (or at least what's considered the south sort of) and I have lived in inner cities in Florida. There were definitely racial tensions at times and sometimes I feared but, my friends always told me the SOP for certain situations and I tried to follow those rules, if you will. I understand the "don't make eye contact" one for sure.

Isn't it funny that if the roles had been reversed it would have likely been met with the same responses. Not because of color but, because we are just too busy and self centered anymore to think that anyone would bother helping us?

Good story!




posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 10:41 AM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel

This is both heart breaking and heart warming -- heart breaking that anyone should feel that way, but heart warming that you showed we can be better just by being you. Good job



posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 10:53 AM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel
Thank you for this story and I can identify with similar ones.
Kindness is something we can all start applying in our own vicinity and watch how it unfolds into scenario's we wouldn't expect beforehand.
You've set an example by this for others to follow.




posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 11:01 AM
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Wonderful story! We should look for opportunities to help others in little ways like this. It makes a big difference in us all.
I shook my hatred of toll booths by paying for the person behind me as well. Now I feel good about having to pay since it helps make someone else's day a little better.

It's that fear that keeps us apart as people.
Destroy it with random acts of kindness.



posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 11:38 AM
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originally posted by: Asktheanimals
Wonderful story! We should look for opportunities to help others in little ways like this. It makes a big difference in us all.
I shook my hatred of toll booths by paying for the person behind me as well. Now I feel good about having to pay since it helps make someone else's day a little better.

It's that fear that keeps us apart as people.
Destroy it with random acts of kindness.


Well said.



posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 12:26 PM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel




"He probably never had a white man be nice to him...he doesnt know if its a trick or not."


Ouch! Glad you did so.

A man being a man, choosing love over fear. I like!
S&F for a great story in a time of fear and intolerance.




posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 03:07 PM
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Awesome story and very well written!

One thing confuses me though, where you write about the general rule of avoiding eye contact in the city. As you just demonstrated with your very well written story, that is exactly what they expect, and it is also a part of the reason they feel disrespected.

I am white and when I run into a black guy, no matter where or in what situation, I look him in the eyes and give him the same smile I would anyone else. Sometimes I even say "hey brother, what's up!" and that always gets a good response.

Trust is much more powerful than fear.

soulwaxer



posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 04:17 PM
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originally posted by: soulwaxer
Awesome story and very well written!

One thing confuses me though, where you write about the general rule of avoiding eye contact in the city. As you just demonstrated with your very well written story, that is exactly what they expect, and it is also a part of the reason they feel disrespected.

I am white and when I run into a black guy, no matter where or in what situation, I look him in the eyes and give him the same smile I would anyone else. Sometimes I even say "hey brother, what's up!" and that always gets a good response.

Trust is much more powerful than fear.

soulwaxer


I am glad that you have had good responses to your efforts. That isn't always the case. I grew up in Chicago and live in the near suburbs now. It was always just the way it was. When you walk down the street there may be people standing there watching you. If you keep your eyes forward and say nothing you will probably not have any problems. If you make eye contact you are probably going to hear, "What are you looking at?" Or something similar. Followed by, "Why don't you answer me?" And so on. Which is a good sign its time to leave. Its not going to get better from there. The same sort of thing with the guys who try to sell you a "real gold chain" or something similar when you walk by. You don't look, you don't speak, you just keep walking. If you even glance at whatever he is selling he will start his "sales pitch". That sales pitch devolves very quickly to, "How much money do you have..." You just don't do it.

Nothing is 100%. There are exceptions. But in general you just didn't draw attention to yourself if you didn't have to.

BTW, the first event was with a black man and myself. The other types of events described above don't indicate race. It could be anyone. Its a gang/thug issue more than a skin color issue.



posted on Nov, 22 2015 @ 10:06 PM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel
Congratulations! You are now a bonafide member of the Share a Smile Club.

I gift myself with the challenge of getting that smile out of the person that seems the most resistant to giving it up. My favorite is the old, crusty and crotchety Vets, and I sure give them a run for their money. Sometimes they will fight me tooth and nail, but I have not lost a challenge to one yet. I make it a point to compliment at least one person a day, always on the lookout for that person that looks like they need a spiritual boost.

It really is a bit of a selfish act for me I guess, because they always make me feel good as well. It is strange how a single, simple, gesture, can make so much of a difference.



posted on Nov, 23 2015 @ 12:32 AM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel

First, nice of you to make the offer, because many wouldn't think about it. Little gestures like that can go a long way.

Second, wow....sad that anyone would feel that way! Isn't it past time that we (society) stopped teaching people that skin color matters? My parents did that, back int he 60's, and I had such hopes that it would catch on. Seems those were misplaced.

At least what you did shows that people can learn, even when no longer children. Maybe one day, people can just see people, not black/brown/red/white/yellow (alphabetical).



posted on Nov, 23 2015 @ 03:58 AM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel

The honey of life is never sweeter, than when encountered whilst expecting bitterness from the world.

Its beautiful that this moment was shared between you all, but ugly that such a thing would ever have such a profound effect. The world should be better by now, than for such a simple thing to be so psychologically effective. Still, wherever one can light a spark, shadows will flee before it, no matter how tiny that spark may be.



posted on Nov, 23 2015 @ 07:09 AM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: Vroomfondel

The honey of life is never sweeter, than when encountered whilst expecting bitterness from the world.

Its beautiful that this moment was shared between you all, but ugly that such a thing would ever have such a profound effect. The world should be better by now, than for such a simple thing to be so psychologically effective. Still, wherever one can light a spark, shadows will flee before it, no matter how tiny that spark may be.


Well said.
And thank you.

It is sad that someone could be so surprised at such a simple gesture. I never thought of it in that context until that moment. The inspiration struck but was immediately followed by a bit of hesitation. I did wonder for a moment if it was inviting something unpleasant that I didn't want to deal with. But I felt secure in my surroundings and I thought he would appreciate the gesture. I have to admit, when he first turned and spoke, the first thing through my mind was, "You should have known better."

Was there a darker side to this? I offered a moment's compassion in a small gesture of kindness, but I wasn't about to let it be turned into something else either. It makes me wonder now if my determination was to offer the kindness or prove that I was capable of making the offer in the first place. No, in retrospect, I didn't start off to prove a point. And I passed through the moment of doubt. My heart is in the right place.



posted on Nov, 23 2015 @ 07:10 AM
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originally posted by: NightSkyeB4Dawn
a reply to: Vroomfondel
Congratulations! You are now a bonafide member of the Share a Smile Club.

I gift myself with the challenge of getting that smile out of the person that seems the most resistant to giving it up. My favorite is the old, crusty and crotchety Vets, and I sure give them a run for their money. Sometimes they will fight me tooth and nail, but I have not lost a challenge to one yet. I make it a point to compliment at least one person a day, always on the lookout for that person that looks like they need a spiritual boost.

It really is a bit of a selfish act for me I guess, because they always make me feel good as well. It is strange how a single, simple, gesture, can make so much of a difference.



Is there a secret handshake? I always wanted a secret handshake...



posted on Nov, 23 2015 @ 08:08 AM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel

In all moments, in all lands, and between all people, there are unique segments of time, confluences where two lives intersect, often briefly. These moments are all we have any control over, more specifically, how we meet those moments, is the thing in which we have the most agency. We do not get to choose where, or when they occur, but we do choose how we pass through them.

You had a choice, to be silent, or give voice to your inner self, to allow your charitable nature to take the reigns, to push to the side any cynicism or lack of certainty you might have harboured, and allow the most beautiful part of yourself to speak for the rest of you. That takes balls in today's world, and I for one applaud you most heartily.



posted on Nov, 23 2015 @ 08:21 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

In all moments, in all lands, and between all people, there are unique segments of time, confluences where two lives intersect, often briefly. These moments are all we have any control over, more specifically, how we meet those moments, is the thing in which we have the most agency. We do not get to choose where, or when they occur, but we do choose how we pass through them.

The Butterfly Effect.

Some of those moments you live long enough to identify, some are passed down in family lore.

a reply to: Vroomfondel

Is there a secret handshake? I always wanted a secret handshake...

Much better than a handshake and much harder to detect from an outsider. It is in our eyes, that special twinkle that only can be seen if you know to look for it.





edit on 23-11-2015 by NightSkyeB4Dawn because: Format fix.



posted on Nov, 23 2015 @ 08:37 AM
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IMO ... Shakespeare nailed it in the Merchant of Venice .....

.... I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands,
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same
food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter
and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the
rest, we will resemble you in that ....



posted on Nov, 23 2015 @ 01:01 PM
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a reply to: Vroomfondel
I shared this in another thread earlier today. Listening to it on the radio and I thought about your thread and thought this would probably be more fitting place for it.

Just a reminder of how sometimes all it take is just that one word, that one gesture to change a life.

**Warning***
Religious content. Contains words Jesus and God.
Please do not listen if you are offended by these words.



edit on 23-11-2015 by NightSkyeB4Dawn because: Added religous content warning as not to offend even accidentally.



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