You know those little acts of daily kindness that make a difference? Well, here is a love story of a different kind.
Since moving to Dallas at the beginning of this year, I have walked at White Rock Lake most days.
It’s a beautiful lake right by my apartment. Pretty much every one of those days, I encountered a man whizzing past on his bike, sprinkling light like a middle-aged, male Tinker Bell.
You hear him before you see him, calling “Morning, morning” to every single person he passes. That’s right, everyone is included. Everyone with their AirPods and earbuds and focus on their jogging or walking or biking. (Dallas residents take their fitness seriously, it seems).
And it never feels fake or contrived. It could be irritating, someone calling out this greeting day after day after day. But what radiates even more is the energy that flows through him and these words—as an energy worker I particularly feel it. He is undeterred by non-responses for he seeks nothing in return.
Every single person is greeted with a “Morning, morning” with gusto and warmth, and they are never routine. What struck me was the exuberance and energy he gives to every single one. Occasionally, I have even heard his voice ringing all the way to my front porch.
What I see some days are arms waving in recognition far in the distance as this man streaks light around and around the lake. I see faces light up. Sometimes in surprise. Sometimes in joy. But everyone is touched by this simplest of acts, given so generously.
There are days when he has saved my life. I don’t mean this in a melodramatic way. But many days I have walked and walked, moving through a big heartbreak and the spirals and depths of awakening and transforming. The reliability and sincerity of his unconditional greeting are truly an example of humanity at its best.
His exuberance and care—no matter what—is our Love.
From the beginning, I wondered what his story was, and his motivation. I wondered who this man is that whatever day he is having, he gives and gives to every single human he encounters as he circuits the lake. I watch this as his service to Love.
I heard that his name is Joe, and today I found his story.
Four years ago, a retired motorcycle cop named Joe Chatham read about a Golden Gate Bridge jumper who had survived. That person said he wouldn’t have tried to end his life if someone had shown him kindness. That story and Chatham’s drive to make the world a better place led him to start saying good morning to everyone.
When asked if he ever gets tired of it, Chatham laughed, which he does easily, and said, “It’s not about me. It’s about all of us. It’s about doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.”
This daily act of Love, given so joyfully and so freely, touches not only the walkers and bikers lucky enough to experience it, but ripples out to feed the heart-flame of humanity.
A true love story, speeding around a lake in Dallas.