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In the Rearview Mirror

March 3, 2006

Driving to work this morning I was stopped at a red light and watched as three men walked past on the sidewalk next to the line of traffic. It was early, I was tired, all I could think of was “3 guys coming from The Pine Street Inn” (Which is the local homeless shelter near my office). I looked at their faces and thought a bit more deeply for 7:30am “Such normal looking guys, I wonder what they were like as children, and why are they homeless now.”

I sat there, maybe I was pondering them and people in general, maybe I was thinking about drinking my coffee, I can’t remember, and then I happened to glance in the rear view mirror. I noticed that the car behind me which hadn’t been able to turn off of 93 and who were definitely now lost had pulled one of the three men over to ask for directions. Would I have asked them for directions if I didn’t known where they were walking from? I had just thought they looked normal, so why not. These lost drivers who didn’t know the area and thus had no pre-conceived prejudices had asked them. I saw smiling, and gesturing of hands, the man they had asked knew the area and he was happy to point them in the right direction. The man at the wheel was leaning over to get the details in addition to what the passenger was taking in. They were excited to be getting pointed in the right direction, excited to get back on track. Who cares who the men are or where they are coming from, they know the area probably better than anyone and why not ask them for directions.

I may have said, “hmm” out loud, I’m not sure. But I definitely thought it.

Its the things that happen in your rearview mirror that can sometimes make you stop, not what’s happening right in front of you- like the light turning green.

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