Yesterday as I was walking in a pretty rural area, I met a guy along the way and we struck up a conversation. I began talking about what I always do, the Trail and its purpose. The man was very interested and seemed excited about it. We were standing off of the main road on a dirt road which led to a commercial kind of area.
While we were talking a man pulled up the dirt road in a truck hauling a small trailer and stopped right next to us. We said hello and could tell right away he was not in a great mood. I began talking to him, sharing a little about the Trail when he cuts me off and says, “What good is it going to do?” As I stood there, shocked and trying to think of an answer, he said “didn’t you see me trying to change my tire over there?” He pointed behind us down the dirt road. We told him that we were sorry but we didn’t see him. This was the truth because his truck was a ways back on the dirt road and our backs were to it while we were talking.
For one reason or another, the man didn’t seem to believe that we didn’t see him. He said, “Well I was changing my tire and nobody asked me if I needed any help.” We apologized and explained again how we didn’t see him until he pulled up next to us. The driver was miserable and in disbelief. Suddenly I remembered that he had driven past me a few miles back in his truck. I politely said to him, “you don’t believe us but that is not a reason to believe there are no good people. When you drive and see someone walking do you stop and offer them a ride?” Before he could consider giving me an answer, he stepped on the gas and drove off.
I wrapped up my conversation with the man I met along the way and continued until I found a little family run motel. I walked into the motel and started with my usual opening greeting of, “Good evening, I’m walking from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Throughout my trail I’ve been fortunate to be granted a small discount on my hotel rate. Would it be possible to obtain a discount for one evening?”
The man looked at me and said “No. No discount.” Clearly he had a miserable day just like the truck driver from earlier. I said to him, “There are good people at the many places I’ve stopped in the past.” He hastily replied, “Well, I am not a good person.” I smiled and said, “Well I think you’re exaggerating a bit, I’m sure you’re a good person.” To this he replied, “No, I am not a good person and I do not want to be a good person.”
Since there were no other motels in the area, I didn’t have a choice as to where I could stay. I paid the man and went up into my room. As I was settling down for the evening, I pondered at how shocking it is to me that the mentality of people can be so abrasive and negative at times for not good reason. People can be completely blind to the simple good in life. I also thought it was a downright shame that people could put themselves down by behaving a certain way and making believe that they are not a good person.
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