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.