Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Return Of The King

I've taken to calling him "The King". I've wrote about him before. I wrote about his going missing last Fall when the mornings turned colder. I Wonder After Him 

But, now it is Spring and the King has returned. 

Recently, the King made a rare afternoon appearance. I spotted him on my way home from work and saw it as an opportunity to meet the King.

His throne is  the top of the stairs  leading to a townhouse much like this one.

I was nervous. He is a imposing figure. There seems to be a permanent scowl on his face. And, although I have passed by him many times, and, even though I have begun to nod my head toward him every time I pass, still I have never seen the expression on his face change. It is always the same.

I made a U-turn and pulled up in front of his house. For a moment I wondered to myself, "What the hell are you doing," but I ignored that voice, chalking it up to excessive caution. My deep sense told me I was in no real danger. 

I parked the bike and dismounted. I took off my helmet before I began to walk toward him. As I approached he watched me. There was no change in his expression, but his eyes were alive with what seemed to me to be curiosity. Neither of us spoke until I got to the base of the stairs. 

I broke the silence. I explained how he might have noticed me nodding to him as I rode by him in the morning. He didn't speak. Next, I began my normal spiel about how commuting to work on my bike had made me  more aware of the people and places I pass everyday. I was somewhere in the middle of what was becoming for me a very uncomfortable monolog when finally the King spoke. "Is that your bike?" I said it was. Then he said, "I like your bike." I thanked him. Then he said, "You know there is a church down the street. They are really nice people. They have a store there and maybe you could find something nice for your bike there." And, even though his expression never changed there was excitement in his voice. 

Suddenly, insight dawned. I realized I was talking to child in a man's body. I changed how I was talking to him and from then on we had a very nice chat. I gave him my name and he gave me his. I learned he had lived in the neighborhood for only three years. Also, I learned when I see him in the morning he is waiting for his ride to pick him up and take him to one of the area hospitals. He didn't tell me if he went there to work or if he was a patient and I didn't ask. Our conversation didn't last long and his expression never changed. I came to wonder if he was even capable of smiling.

I didn't ask if I could take his picture. I'm confident he would have said, "Yes," but, it just didn't seem the right thing to do. Just like taking a picture of a similar building's entry way rather than his seemed to be a very right thing to do.

After my encounter with the King, the weather turned cold again. It was a few days before I rode by him seated on his throne. When I did, I didn't just nod my head but I waved to him. When he noticed me, he stood up and waved back. He waved to me in the way a child waves, not just with his arm but with his whole body. And, the expression on his face never changed, but mine did.


  1. Great story! What a wonderful encounter. I think maybe you made his day, and he most assuredly made yours! I love the wave at the end. Doesn't that say everything, even as his facial expression stays the same.

  2. I like this story. He will remember this encounter for years and will be watching for you, his new found friend, every day.

  3. Kudos to you for bringing a bright spot into his day.

    I think it took courage to stop and talk to him as so many people don't pay attention to their surroundings now days and you not only noticed him but stopped to say hello.

  4. fun story. you meet the most interesting characters on your scoot.

  5. Dear Keith:

    You may have been the only person to speak to him all week. And judging from the wave you got, he still remembers it. God's grace begins with a simple act of kindness.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  6. Kari,
    His face always looks the same. It is uncanny.

    Thanks for reading and making a comment. I loved the picture of you and the bridge. I'm just so far behind right now. Sorry to not repond sooner.

  7. Richard,
    I liked this story, too. I don't know if I made his day, but he certainly made mine. Now, when I see him he doesn't stand up anymore, but he waves. Friday, he was out in the afternoon. As I approached he waved before I did. Sweet.

    Thanks for the comment.

  8. Trobairitz,
    It is the funniest thing. I find myself stopping and talking to people all the time. I never thought of doing that before I owned the Symba. It has definitely expanded my world.

    Thanks very much for the comment.

  9. Chris,
    I certainly do meet some interesting characters on Billie. What a hoot!

  10. Jack,
    It is amazing the power of simple kindness isn't it? As I commented above, he is even starting to wave to me before I wave to him. A blessing.

    Thanks for commenting.

  11. Thus are added colorful threads into the tapestry of our lives. Neat story.

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  13. I just goes to show how one little random act of kindness can change your life and the lives of others. This was very touching. Hope you see King every day, give him a wave for me.

    Oops I accidentally deleted the original comment

  14. Irondad,
    Yes, indeed. This is exactly how the tapestry grows.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  15. Dar,

    Kindness does seem to expand my life, just as fear makes my life smaller. He was a complete surprise to me. He was not at all as I had expected him to be. It was a wonderful surprise.

    Thanks for reading and honoring me with a comment.

  16. I'm glad you stopped. Your last response mentions "he was not at all as you expected". And that is what life is all about. Too often we size up a situation before entering it. And oftentimes we size it up incorrectly and miss out on something that could be wonderful. I'm glad that you let it go and made a new friend. :)