Well Rewarded

I have a difficult time passing people and ignoring them.  Walking, hiking, biking, even driving my car.  I say “hi”, “hello”, I nod, I wave.  I smile and I wish people a good day.

Sometimes this leaves me feeling snubbed.  Ignored.  But mostly, well rewarded.

Twice today, while on a bike ride, I had interactions that were a little bit different than normal.

I passed one man who was out walking on the bike trail and said “good morning” to him as I smiled and nodded.  I have never, ever, been given such a hateful look.  I actually sat up a little on my bike when I saw his eyes – they were so intensely angry.  And I was so surprised at what those eyes were emoting.

I only had about a mile to go before I turned around and was heading back in the other direction.  I kept wondering what in the world I could have said in my “good morning” that angered him so much.  Or what was he going through, that I interrupted, and he couldn’t remove himself from as I spoke to him.

I have to admit, I was a little saddened by whatever it was.  And I wished I could sometimes just go by without speaking or acknowledging everyone.

As I was heading back, the man was still walking.  I never avoid talking or acknowledging someone on purpose.  But I didn’t want to evoke anything else out of him.  I reached for my water bottle, which miraculously was stuck.  That never happens.  But suddenly it was jammed in too tightly and I couldn’t get the cage holding it to let go.  I was focusing on the road in front of me while trying to navigate the bottle out, which gave me an opportunity to not purposefully ignore him.  But I still saw him, peripherally.  He nearly stopped as I approached.  He kind of raised his hand.  He kind of smiled.  The bottle came out, I sat up a little and right as I pulled abreast of him he gave me a big smile and another wave.   I smiled and said ‘hello’ as I passed.

That felt better.

I rode another six miles or so.  And ahead, on the trail, I can see someone sitting.  A lot of people forget or ignore or don’t care that a bicycle trail is a moving roadway.  Whether someone is riding a bike, running, roller skating, skate boarding, or whatever they are doing to move, it is a moving space.  Often I come across bikers/runners/whoevers just standing in the middle of the trail.  Oblivious to the danger they put everyone in by just standing there.  I try to stay very vigilant and respectful.  Sometimes people may be stopped for emergency reasons (and most times they are not).

As I approached I saw the man appeared to be older.  Kind of dirty in appearance.  I ride with one ear bud in for music.  One ear with nothing, for safety.  I pulled the one ear bud out and slowed down in case I had to stop.  He looked up at me.  I said “are you okay?”   I was going very slow but had not stopped.  He waved me on and said “yes, I’m fine”.  He was sitting on the edge of the trail.  A creek was running below us.

Okay.  He did not seem in distress.  Maybe he was resting and enjoying the sounds of the creek.

I rode a few more miles, turned around, and headed back again.  The storm clouds were rolling in and I wanted to beat the storm.

As I approached the area where the man had been sitting, I saw he had not moved, but he was looking around.  As I approached he looked at me and I smiled.  He said something as I rode past but I wasn’t sure what it was.  So I stopped my bike, turned around and walked back to him.  He said “ma’am”.  I said “yes, I’m sorry I didn’t hear you”.

He said “do you have a few dollars so I can get something to eat”.  I knew I didn’t have a “few dollars” because I had shoved a five dollar bill in my bike bag when I left because I don’t like to be without a little cash when on my bike.

I said “well, I don’t have a few dollars. All I have is five dollars”.  I opened my bag to pull it out, and out came two five dollar bills.  Which surprised me because I knew I had only put one in there.   I said “well, I have two five dollar bills.  I’ll give you one and I’ll keep one just in case.”.  I pulled the money out to hand it to him and said “what’s your name?”   He said “I’m Dave”.  I said “I’m Colleen, I hope this helps.”   He said he hoped to eat before it rained.  I told him I hoped to get home before it rained.  He thanked me.  I wished him a good day.

I got home before it stormed.


56 thoughts on “Well Rewarded

  1. Loved this post, Colleen. I also like to smile and greet strangers when on walks or rides. Smiling costs nothing, and a positive exchange can make your day. It’s worth the occasional snub. 🌹


    • SO true! It doesn’t cost a thing does it? And I think you are right, it is worth the occasional snub. I will say I take those snubs to heart. But it usually takes very little to overcome that hurdle. I’m glad in both of these situations I had to double back, and things were restored. 🙂


      • hahaha, I do not know if I would call it dividend. I do not necessarily believe that the love / kindness we give to people comes directly back to us in parts. I rather believe that niceness acts like a healthy food on us. So right here with us, without the people give us something back. Yeast makes beautiful shiny hair … kindness makes a beautiful soul.


        • Kindness does make a beautiful soul Anie, what a lovely statement.

          I do though, think kindness pays off in dividends. Maybe it doesn’t come back to us, as you say, directly. But I think when we are kind and loving, it pays off in other ways. For instance, it feels good to me to be good and kind. So that is a dividend, the way I think, I mean. I hope that makes sense 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m thinking about the angry man. Without knowing you may have given him hope in humanity. Never stop smiling and saying hello. It may just be the one little thing we can do to make a difference in someone’s life.


  3. What a beautiful story of helping others. You were in the right place at the right time. Praying for that gentleman and giving thanks for you.


  4. I love this! Theodore Roosevelt said, “the poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer.” You are the exact opposite, facing it with generosity, kindness, and a cheerful greeting!


  5. That is sweet that you acknowledge people that you pass. I’m afraid that I don’t always do that. I also admire you for giving that man money so he can eat. I gave someone a ten dollar bill because they needed money for gas. (I always wonder if they are telling the truth). When I handed him that ten dollar bill he started helping me put my groceries into my car because he was so happy.


  6. I may have mentioned (a few times) that I speak to everyone I meet when out on my daily walk. Some ignore me for many attempts, but most, eventually, respond in some way. It is a great joy when they do so!


      • I can imaging, that this was a beautiful feeling. I feel also always very touched, when I get a smile and a nice “hello” from people, who normally don´t talk to anybody and are used to behave not so kind….

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Heartwarming story. I too hope Dave got to eat something before it rained. I try to smile and greet everyone I pass when out walking or on trails, if I get the vibe that they want to be spoken to.
    More often than not, I encounter people who have all the walls up and make it obvious they wish to be left alone, like the first man did at the beginning of your post. Sometimes they warm up on the second passing, most often they don’t. It’s something I try not to take too personally, because I’ve been on the other side of the situation myself a couple of times. I’ve been lost in thought, or just in a general upset and going for a hike or bike ride to get it out of my system and unintentionally (or at seldom times intentionally) tune out other people around me. Again, it’s something I do try to be mindful of for the most part.

    What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood? –Susan Shaughnessy

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a thoughtful comment Manndelionart. Thank you. There was a time when I would have completely made this interaction about ‘me’ and how that person snubbed me. Thankfully I keep growing. And I did recognize after I passed the first (angry appearing) man that I may very well have happened upon him going through something. And, I suspect this has happened from my side of my face too.

      I appreciate the quote immensely. It really speaks perfectly to my experiences.


  8. You have a gift for connecting with people, Colleen. I think you must present yourself as approachable, which is lovely. I must say that it takes discernment to know when and how often to be vulnerable to approach. Sometimes I feel like I’d like to be more “walled off,” as a form of protection, but you do challenge me to think about that. 🙂


    • Actually Debra, I think my nature is to wall up. I feel safer “inside”, if that makes sense. I remember going to a training MANY years ago. We were a large group that spent 3 or 4 days together. We really spoke a lot. At the end of the training we were processing and one of the ladies turned to me, in front of everyone, and said “I feel like I could call you in the middle of the night and you would talk to me and listen to me, and you don’t even know me”. I have always remembered that. And it really rattled something loose in me. I would never want someone in need to NOT call out. I would want to be approachable. So thank you very much for saying that.


  9. Hey Colleen nice read that was. A little act of kindness goes a long way, doesn’t it? Sometimes they may not show it, but just the fact that you acknowledged them can make their day. You never know!😉


  10. You had a very good day, MBC.
    As I go through my life of walking and thinking, I know I fail to realize that my face is a pure reflection of my thoughts. When I strike on something that has caused me anger or pain or discomfort … yikes, that must be a sight for those going through life the other way on the moving roadway. You have reminded me today!


    • You are kind MBM. I do need to remember that. It is NOT always about me. I was glad that I came to that thought. And he must have had some kind of thought about it as well, I really feel like he was waiting for me to pass him again.


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