Friday Inspiration

I see Warren almost every day, at least the days I go to the office. He’ll stop mid-conversation to say hello to me as I walk in the office, and he always notices when I have new shoes or a new pair of glasses. He’s always smiling, always remembers everyone’s name. The other morning I told him he’s the highlight of my workweek and he blushed.

Warren’s not my building security guard or doorman, he’s one of the homeless people who spend the day on the street corner. But Warren never asks for change, he instead makes friends and changes people’s opinions with his personality.

I was at my desk working on a project, and felt as though if I sat here another minute my ass would fuse to my chair. I had a headache, I was tired, I was sluggish, I realized it was 2pm and I hadn’t yet eaten lunch. I told my team I was stepping out and left with no real direction. I decided to walk up a couple blocks to a little café I like, but I ended up awkwardly walking at the same speed as two women having a serious conversation and they walked in there so I felt life was telling me to go on. So I did. I walked several blocks, almost in a circle, went into a different restaurant where I took my lunch in front of a sunny window, reading a book on my phone’s Kindle app. This break from the workday should have energized me, but I left the restaurant feeling even more glum. I walked the long way back, the bitter cold air hurt my face, and I felt as though I needed it, deserved it for some reason.

I rounded the corner, and there was Warren, smiling his lovely warm smile. He finished up his conversation with two gentlemen and we shook hands. We didn’t get a chance to chat earlier. Warren’s son really wants to be in the church choir, and this weekend they’re going to church to have him audition. Warren started to speak negatively about his son’s mother but stopped himself. “Being mean never helped anyone do anything great,” he said. “Be you angry or be you happy, you’re going to have the same life, so you might as well be happy and enjoy as much of it you can.”

Here’s this homeless man, a single father in a torn coat and one glove being my guru. And I took in his advice, like I do all of Warren’s advice. Because as always, Warren is right. He could get angry about those who pretend they don’t see him, angry that he can’t find a job though he’s actively looking, angry that he has to raise a boy on his own, angry about so many things. But instead he finds the positive, and chooses to share his positivity with everyone he meets.

Warren shook my hand again, and I gave him a hug in return. Because of his inspirational talk and sunny outlook, I decided to be a Warren this weekend. And maybe by sharing this nugget of my day with you, you too can be a Warren and find the happy and share it with the world around you.

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  1. DorothyP
    February 2, 2014 / 4:59 pm

    He can’t buy food with a hug. Why can’t you give him a gift card to a grocery store, if handing out cash is too distasteful?

    • February 2, 2014 / 5:13 pm

      I never said I didn’t give him money or buy him lunch or toiletries, just that he doesn’t ask. Gotta say I’m glad you found a community at GOMI, you seem to have a lot of free time. I actually like GOMI and Alice, happy you’re keeping yourself busy and helping Alice get some more ad revenue to pay hosting costs.

  2. January 29, 2014 / 1:15 pm

    Beautiful post about Warren. One of my favorite advice givers was a lady who worked in the dining hall at Catholic University when I was a student and when I worked a couple years later and again many years later. She always knew when something was wrong – she gave me advice when I was a young married woman and again as an older married woman wanting to get pregnant. She also gave me advice on getting rid of my baby’s thrush. She always called me “Baby Girl” even when I was 30 and I loved it.

  3. January 28, 2014 / 10:44 am

    Bless Warren! What a wise man. Are you sure he’s a homeless man? Maybe he’s really an angel…

  4. Fiona
    January 26, 2014 / 12:37 pm

    Funny what you find just when you need it! These wise words will now be my Sunday inspiration. Thank you for choosing to share your story.

  5. akaflea
    January 26, 2014 / 12:17 pm


  6. Lisa
    January 26, 2014 / 11:38 am

    WOW! Thank you so much for sharing. Please give Warren my regards the next time you see him. I’m writing those words down and putting them where I can see them everyday.

  7. Gayle
    January 25, 2014 / 6:25 pm

    What a great story, Alison. Thanks for sharing it with us and for the reminder to find the happy.

  8. Christine
    January 25, 2014 / 3:28 pm

    Add me to the Warren fan club. I want to be more “Warren” too. As a woman whose husband dumped heir and is now facing spinal surgery, I realized I could be angry or I could let it go. I hope he knows how much he inspires so many of us.

  9. Bonnie
    January 25, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    Great Advice! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Anna
    January 25, 2014 / 2:54 pm

    Another Warren adopter, here. What a lovely man, and lovely story. Can you let him know how many people he has inspired through you, or would he be embarrassed?

  11. Diana
    January 25, 2014 / 2:51 pm

    Sometimes the best advice comes from the most unexpected places. This was so nice to hear today

  12. Susan Young
    January 25, 2014 / 10:20 am

    Thank you for sharing this.

  13. Melanie
    January 25, 2014 / 8:10 am

    Loved this – so glad this was one of the first things I read this morning, as I woke up very grumpy after a night of a sleep boycotting toddler.

  14. January 25, 2014 / 7:47 am

    Warren puts everything into perspective, doesn’t he? Thank you, Alison!

  15. babyshoesmagee
    January 24, 2014 / 11:52 pm

    Alison, you brought a tear to my eye, thank you for sharing this. I want to be a Warren.

  16. Kathryn
    January 24, 2014 / 11:37 pm

    Lovely. Thank you for sharing this.

  17. Cynthia Peterson
    January 24, 2014 / 10:58 pm

    I will be a Warren this weekend too.

  18. Une femme
    January 24, 2014 / 10:53 pm

    Wonderful story. Now you’ve inspired me too.

  19. Patti_NotDeadYetStyle
    January 24, 2014 / 9:08 pm

    Very wise man, he is. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Meera Khanna
    January 24, 2014 / 8:02 pm

    Loved reading this story. Thanks for sharing

  21. Melissa
    January 24, 2014 / 8:02 pm

    What a lovely way to go into the weekend. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Cecilia
    January 24, 2014 / 7:43 pm

    This simple story told me more about you than any of your other posts I’ve read. I am humbled. Warren is a lesson to us all. Next time you see him tell him he really inspired a single mom from Pennsylvania.

  23. Dolores
    January 24, 2014 / 6:36 pm

    Thank you

  24. Lindsay
    January 24, 2014 / 6:13 pm

    I needed this today. Thank you for sharing.

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