Sunday, February 26, 2006

Da Cleaner Can Still Learn

Having missed my run last week due to unscheduled events, I had visions of dirty pipes filling up with remnants of previous "bulking up" dinners that never got burned off. Gross! So I decided it was time for Da Cleaner to make an appearance, and this morning I set off to repeat my long run to the in-law's house.

I like to carry as little as possible when I run, so it was an exception for me to have 1 GU, 1 chapstick, and $2 in my pocket when I left. My plan was to run for an hour, buy some water for the GU, and then finish the rest of the run. I took a different route this time, mostly going south on Preston Road from Plano to Dallas, which will take me to about a mile from the in-law's house.

I had on long pants, a long sleeved tech shirt and gloves, and it felt just right. At 1:09, I reached Preston and Belt Line, and stopped at a gas station to buy some water. Turns out the smallest they have is a 20 oz bottle for $1.09. Argh! I didn't really didn't want to carry around that big of a bottle, and I certainly didn't want to jingle on with 0.81 cents in change! So I passed on the gas station and went into a Subway to ask for a cup of water. No problem, they said. So with GU and 1/2 cup of water down, I took off again.

Just a little farther down, I came to Preston and LBJ. Ya Bub, this is Texas. LBJ is actually I-635, 10 lanes across. I walked across the Preston overpass to the south side, and stopped to wait for traffic. It's then that I noticed a man standing in the median at the light. He had on blue overalls and a black t-shirt. His hair was gray, as was his full beard. He stood stooped over one crutch for support, with his wheelchair beside him. He must have been about 60+.

If I had been driving, I would've noticed him, but driven on. Standing here on the side of the road, there was no question. I took my gloves off, waited for the light to turn red, crossed over to the median, and put $2 in his hands. Up close, I could tell his eyesight wasn't too good, but his face lit up and he thanked me profusely. I didn't know what else to say, so I said "take care of yourself", patted him on the back, and crossed back over.

I started running again, and 20 steps later I glanced over my shoulder. He was looking at me and raised his hand to wave. I waved back, and kept on trucking. The rest of the run felt really good. This chance encounter and his little gesture to me gave me a better lift than any GU I've had. I owe him my 11.5 miles and 1:42:28.


Anne said...

What a wonderful gesture. I could see where it would keep your spirits lifted and therefore let you sail through the run. Glad you passed on the 20 oz. bottle at the gas station.

TriSaraTops said...

Wow--amazing what a little act of kindness can do! :)

Deene said...

very kind of you to make another person happy. maybe he will pay it forward.

Rae said...

That was so nice! I bet it made his day, too.

Black Knight said...

If you plan to run through Paris, don't worry! A little bottle of water costs only 2 euros (1 euro = 1.20 $). This is a nice though for the runners: a little easy to handle bottle and only a stupid little coin to give to the dealer! Ahhhhh what a nice and smart people!

Bex said...

That was a very thoughtful gesture. Sometimes I see panhandlers standing on the side of the road. Once in the past, I bought lunch for one of them and gave them a few bucks. But now, more often than not, I just blaze on past.

Your post was a good reminder that I could show a bit more kindness.