My car was parked a few blocks away. I was hoping the stroll and fresh air would help clear my head. I noticed a short, white-haired man carrying a camouflage backpack walking ten feet in front of me.
On the other side of the street, there was a group of young guys doing skateboard tricks and hanging out. The white-haired man said hello as he passed them, glanced back at me and continued moving forward.
As I reached the street corner, he looked back again. I was about a foot away from the skaters dudes when the white-haired man asked, “You okay?”
“Yes”, I answered. I was so touched by his kindness that I immediately felt a lump in my throat and my eyes started to burn.
“Thank you,” my voice squeaked.
He slowed down to walk with me and introduced himself, “Hi. I’m William.”
“Jenni. Nice to meet you,” I said as I shook his hand.
“I’m from Ireland where we have a saying,” and then he spoke in Gaelic.
“Health to the men and may the women live forever,” he repeated in English. “It’s an Irish blessing that reminds us to protect women because they bare our children and bring us life.”
For the second time in two minutes, I swallowed the lump in my throat and blinked back tears. In that moment, I felt safer and more peaceful than I had felt in the last two days.
He told me about his sons, his redheaded daughters and granddaughters and how he hoped that someone would look out for them if they were walking alone.
“My dad thanks you. I know he would be grateful,” I said.
We walked together in silence for a half a block, said goodbye and then went our separate ways.
When I got to my car, I sat in the driver seat and cried “thankful tears” for a good five minutes. With all the craziness going on, it was pretty cool of my guardian angel, William, to walk beside me and chat. In his words, “Health to the men and may the women live forever.”
In mine, “Was reminded today: Treasure and take care of each other. In the end, it’s all that really matters.”