Last night while leaving my hotel, I saw a man that looked a lot like a man that I have admired, pretty much my entire life, Rev./Congressman/Ambassador/Mayor Andrew Young. But he’s from Atlanta and I was in Washington DC, so there was no way it could’ve been the civil rights leader. But he looked sooo much like him. So much so that I was slightly freaked out and questioned myself. When I got to the airport it was still on my mind. So, I looked up some happenings on in Washington DC. Sure enough there was info on the Andrew Young Lecture series happening that very day. Seriously?? How could I miss that?! I think I was so focused on presenting my story and information on legislation affecting disabled & digestive disease patients that I missed it! So, there was a good chance that the man I saw in hotel lobby that day was in fact, my hero, Andrew Young. Damn! Damn! Damn, James! I started thinking of all the things I would have said to him if I had taken a little more time to realize that the man was only 2 feet from me.
Then while I was waiting in line to get to board the plane, a gentleman came by and asked us to make room for a passenger in a wheelchair. I smile and move. It was then I realize that looking up at me from the wheelchair is, ANDREW YOUNG! No, seriously! The man was literally right in front me. He smiled. I stood there completely speech less with my knees shaking. I was literally shaking. Here I was going home to my middle class neighborhood, standing in an integrated airport after having gone and met with the men & women of Congress to stand up for my rights as a patient during an administration led by a black man. And the one of the men who stood on the front lines, literally, was standing right in front of me and looked me in the eyes. And then he was gone, just like that. He moved to the other end of the gate. But something inside of me told me to go over there. I mean, this is the second time you are seeing him in your whole life, are you really not going to say anything to the man? So, I started to think of all the things I could say. I had a really great speech planned about how he has inspired me to be a voice for everyone’s freedoms, for myself & my child. About how bravery is rooted in love and violence is rooted in fear. I wanted to thank him for his sacrifices, love and patience. There were so many things I wanted to say. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and headed over to where he was. I said, “excuse me, sir..” and he looked up and smiled. But the only thing that could come out of my mouth was, “Thank you.” LOL! After all of that, all I said was, Thank you in a very shy, whispery voice. He said a couple of things, and I just mostly nodded and smiled like a nerd! And then I recoiled and shuffled along. I was at a lost for words! Literally. I had no words. This man has been my hero since I was 9 years old when my grandma would tell me stories about the civil rights movement and it’s leaders. And all I could say was, thank you!
Well, if by some miracle someone from the Ambassador’s office reads this would please share the following:
Dear Ambassador Young,
You are my hero. You saved my life before my mother had a life and I just want to thank you. Before yesterday, I never met you but you were still able to teach me so much. You taught that to be brave, I had to love. That those who are violent against me, live in fear and that I should pray for them, not retaliate. Teach them, love them. Do not kill them or condemn them. You taught me to stand up for myself and for others. To love the lives of the future leaders before they have a breath. To live in life with appreciation and an open heart. To give more than receive. To know with your soul, more than your brain. To trust in humanity. Thank you for being an inspiration for generations upon generations. Thank you for standing so that I could sit in an office on Capitol Hill exercising my basic American liberties. Thank you for caring for me before I knew how to care for myself. Thank you! Thank you so much! I will continue to pay it forward!
Peace & Continued Blessings,