A few minutes ago I was walking the trail by the hospital for a few minutes. As the spur I walked merged into the main trail, a man walked up with his cell phone held close to his left ear. I said, “Good morning!” and smiled.
To my surprise, he venomously replied, “It’s past noon!”
I flicked my wrist and looked at my Fitbit. It was 12:01.
Without missing a beat I retorted, “Have you been eating lemons?”
He stopped and said, “What do you mean by that?”
Because I am me, I answered, “You seem awful bitter. Are you okay? Do you need to talk? I have a couple of minutes.”
“No,” he said, and he kept walking.
A little further ahead, alongside the perimeter of the apartments that abut the trail, he stopped at one of the long black benches. I walked up towards him.
He turned towards me and said, “The lemon question was pretty good.”
I sat down on the end of the bench. He soon followed.
And he did talk and told me what was bothering him. After 3 or 4 minutes, I told him to wait there and I had something for him. I walked back to my car and got an old pair of headphones and walked back towards him. I half-expected him to be gone. But he was still there. I handed them the headphones and told him that if he needed a ride I would be glad to give him one.
He thanked me twice. I reached out and shook his hand. He actually smiled.
I used the simple human superpower of humor and listening to turn the lemons in his head into something else.
I’ll let him walk away for a minute before I snapped the picture.
The bright sun above me somehow seemed to shine brighter.