He had a big beautiful smile
on his wrinkled weathered face.
Slightly behind and beside him was a man I recognized from work directing the smiling fellow: right hand on the old man's sloped shoulder, left pointing down Broad Street toward Fourth. He too wore a smile, the same wonderful smile the old man wore.
I watched as they parted ways and wished each other well. The old man, clutching his bouquet of red roses, jogged across Fourth Street and joined a small crowd of people at another crosswalk. Frowning faces buried in their iPhones, the group nearly missed this sweet man so full of joy, so alive with anticipation of a special moment, so present. A reunion of some kind maybe? A surprise date with his wife? Dinner with a grandchild? Birth of a great-grandchild? The obvious rush of love this old man had for whomever he was meeting was almost lost in the sea of distracted worn down people of this city.
But then he put his hand on the shoulder of the young man standing next to him, who started defensively until he met the old guy's eyes. And wouldn't you know that young guy started smiling too. I don't think he could help himself. Soon everyone else in this little gathering of world-weary pedestrians shifted their collective focus from their phones to this smiling happy old man. Smiles began tugging at the corners of their mouths as they looked around apprehensively at each other. Their unease quickly melted away replaced by laughter, followed by the shaking of hands and the well-wishing slapping of shoulders...
Strangers to each other. But every man recognizes the goodness of love when they see it. And that old man was oozing it.
His smile, his excitement, his touch, his love - it changed these people for a moment.
Connected them. Elevated them.
It was a precious moment caught accidently while stuck in traffic. A reminder to be present in all things, because I'll never know when another opportunity to be connected or elevated by someone...or an opportunity for me to connect or elevate someone else might arise if I don't take the time look around.