Yesterday morning as I was walking across the parking lot at work, one of the regular visitors to the food pantry at my office stopped me to say hello as he often does. A short time into the conversation, he asked if I had received my monkeypox vaccination. After I told him that I’ve had the first shot and the second one is scheduled, he expressed sincere relief.
He told me that it was important for me to take care of my health because I have to take care of him and all the other people experiencing homelessness and addiction in the area who look to me for help. In the moment I smiled and thanked him for asking, but when I got to the car and pulled away, I found myself getting emotional about this rough-edged, gruff older southern man initiating a conversation to make sure I am taking care of myself.
He didn’t ask for anything, he just wanted to make sure I was going to be ok. A guy who sleeps under a bridge cares enough about me to make sure I’m healthy. It was a beautiful dose of perspective that is still on my mind the next day. Kindness and caring cost nothing; use them liberally.
Never forget that I love you, and that excludes no one.