I was out for a run the other morning and I came across a gentleman walking in the other direction. Older guy, with a cane. Pants up a little too high, polo shirt that looks like it’s older than me. Not moving very fast, obviously, but not bothered by that — in fact, he had a big smile on his face, almost like the sunlight was just soaking in through his skin and lighting him up from inside.
“Morning,” I called as I approached, as is my wont. (Those of us out getting active at daybreak owe it to each other to salute our shared insanity.)
“I know you,” the man replied.
I pull up short. Not the response I was expecting. “Beg pardon?”
“You’re the guy going up and down the street before the sun is up, during the week. Bout five in the morning, right? With your dog, most of the time.”
“Yeah, that’s me.” Crap. Is his yard one of the ones my dog likes to stop and pee in?
“You run by my house three, four times a week, it must be.”
I nod. “That’s about what I shoot for, yeah.”
His grin gets a bit bigger. “You remind me that I need to be out here, moving around.”
“Oh, yeah?” (My vocabulary isn’t as impressive when I’m run-winded. I realize I’ve said “yeah” three times in a row. I wonder if he noticed it, too.)
“Sure. Doctor wants me to stay active what with my treatments. Always feel better when I do, but I don’t always remember to do it. The day gets on and it gets too hot and I can’t be out in that.” He waggles his cane for emphasis. “But I see you truckin’ past my house and I think, ‘well, I guess I’d better get out there, too.'”
Now I’m smiling, too. “No kidding. Good for you.”
“Naw,” he waves me away. “Good for you. Keep on doin’ what you do.”
I nod and fall back into step. “You, too.”
I finish the last leg of my run feeling a little bit stronger than usual.
This has been your friendly reminder that even the little things you do can inspire others. (As if you needed more reasons to do them.)
So, on this day, go forth and do.
This post is part of Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday.