|aka Baltimore 2019
|In February 2019, I was an exhibitor at the American Craft Council Baltimore show. I had my trusty sidekick, Jim, and thanks to very concerned cousins, an old phone as a decoy (in case we got robbed) and money safely tucked under my coat. Jim was wearing the Creighton Bluejays ball cap Erin gave him.
It must have been the second day of set up, and we were walking back to the parking lot when a man, wearing several layers and a trench coat asked Jim if the cap was for John Hopkins. We stopped, and Jim, being the proud dad, said it was Creighton, where our daughter goes to college. He asked us some more questions, was a good listener, and told us that he lived up in the shelter, pointing up the street and that it was too far to walk. He casually asked if we had a couple of dollars for bus fare.
Since we were prepared for big bad Baltimore, we did not, and told him we didn’t have any cash on us. Without skipping a beat, he told us that was okay and that he appreciated that we stopped and talked with him. He said most people just walk on by as if he isn’t there. And wished us godspeed.Jim and I talked about the experience. He was very eloquent, in fact, I said he would have made incredible salesperson with his communication skills. We agreed the next day to toss a few bucks in our outer coat pockets in case we saw him again.
We didn’t see him. But our experience, giving him just a few minutes of time, I know that made him feel good. He didn’t have to tell us that he appreciated it. He could have just left. But he didn’t. And it was at that point that I realized all of us, no matter our background, circumstances, gender, religion, wealth, power, or any other trait, share one thing in common – We all just want to be seen.
So while the shoe project came to fruition as a result of the President’s inauguration speech, as one of my dear friends says, my Baltimore experience made a huge impression on me.
Someone asked me if he wore converse. I don’t know. I remembered the trench coat, that was the first impression. But it was the last impression that will stay with me.