I arrived from a two week tour back home to Los Angeles for the weekend. My friend Wanjiro was waiting for me at the airport and since my luggage had decided to catch a slightly later flight than myself, i inivted Wanjiro out to lunch and we would later return to the airport to pick up my suitcase.
One of our favorite lunch places in Los Angeles is Govinda, the HareKrishna Center Restaurant, featuring lots and lots of vegetarian and vegan friendly selctions of yummy fresh foods that have all been prayed over before brought out onto the buffet table from the kitchen. Delicious good-karma food and it’s only $7 per plate, anyhow….on our way to Govinda from the airport we took the 405N exited Venice and began driving East on Venice Blvd. A few blocks past Overland my friend steps on her breaks like her water just broke and she’s not even pregnant. Good thing we didnt have any cars behind us or something else may have broken, anyways….she stops her car smack in the middle of Venice Blvd. and starts screaming “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! That was Nate!!!!” I had not seen anyone other than an older heavy-set white man struggling to cross the Blvd. “Who’s Nate?” i ask her thinking this must be someone extremly important to make her react like this. “Nate was my high school janitor” she explains “he was always around Venice High cleaning and the kids would all make fun of him, you know how kids are with janitors; well, i was always the one who would stop whenever i saw him and talk to him, we would talk about his day, about my classes, about everything, the other kids started making fun of me too for talking to Nate all the time, but that never made me stop. On my graduation day, i received a card from Nate with a hundred dollar bill inside it for my future studies. It made me want to cry because all those times i had been nice to him, i never wanted anything in return, and the fact that this man, this janitor, took the time to write me a card and give me a graduation present, meant a lot to me and i never got to thank him.” OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! I screamed like my water had just broken and i’m not even pregnant, quickly, turn the car around, let’s find Nate. Wanjiro started moving with a quickness in her little WV beetle, racing down Venice East, U-turn, racing down Venice West, U-turn and finally pulling up on the side of the road near a man struggling to walk. It was Nate. We got out of the car and Wanjiro rushed to hug him. He was surprised and a little alarmed, we had caught him off guard, but immediatley recognized her. Wanjiro told him that she’d gone back several times to Venice High looking for him because she had always wanted to thank him for his kind graduation gift, but that she never found him there. Nate told us he had been switched to the night shift and he was focused specifically on the West Gym. Wanjiro told him that his gift had meant a lot to her and then she proceeded to share with him that this May she would be graduating college and going on to Grad School so that she could become a Teacher and Social Worker. Nate had a big smile on his face, he told us “That is the best news i have received today, im happy that even in a very small way, i was able to help you on your path” We said our goodbyes, and continued on our way to Govinda, Nate had not only made a difference in Wanjiro’s life, he had also now made a big difference in mine. It’s so beautiful how small acts of kindness can soften our hearts and remind us of the goodness in people that could make anything in the world possible!