I was walking in downtown London yesterday and was passing a group of women. They all had Tim Hortons coffee cups in their hands. “I could use a coffee,” intoned the inner me. I approached one of the women and asked where I could find a Tims store nearby. As she opened her mouth, I heard a voice off to the side:
I whirled around to see a young woman who I’ll call “Monique”. Long ago, I had worked with a blind child at an elementary school, and Monique was one of her sighted classmates. She wore a huge smile, as did I. We hugged. Sure she’d changed in fifteen years but I recognized her.
It didn’t matter what we talked about. There was a sense of contact between us. She told me about her musical career and I mentioned my cross-Canada bicycle ride this summer. We joyed in each other’s adventures. Monique’s friends simply watched us, enjoying the reunion.
At one point, I told Monique that a few years ago I decided why I was on the planet: to love people and make them laugh. Her reply? “You accomplished that well before then.” What a sweet thing to say.
Later she said “You were one of the adults who influenced me most.” Oh my. I thanked Monique for saying something that I hadn’t heard very often over the years. We smiled a lot, hugged again and were off into our separate lives. But we’ll remember each other and our chance reunion on King Street.
May I always tell people how deeply they’ve influenced me. It’s an act of such kindness. We all deserve to be on the receiving end.