Vox Populi

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Michael Simms: Scarf

A few afternoons ago I was standing at the corner of Carson and 19th in the Southside waiting for the light to change. To my right, a young man in a Pittsburgh Steelers cap crossed 19th, pulling a pair of gloves out of his jacket when a black and yellow scarf fell out of his pocket into the middle of the street. Not realizing he had dropped it, he kept walking. I called to him, Sir! Sir! You dropped something! But he didn’t hear me and kept walking. A middle-aged blonde woman on the opposite corner looked at me wondering what I was yelling about and I said He dropped his scarf! And pointed. She turned toward the young man who was already twenty yards down the block and yelled at him, but he didn’t hear her; however, an old African American man noticed her and yelled at the young man who kept walking on, oblivious to the chain of alarm behind him. Trying to get his attention, I yelled Black Hat! Black Hat! And the blonde woman and the old man picked up the cry Black Hat! Black Hat! and the young man turned. The old man pointed at the blonde woman and she signaled the young man to come back to the corner. Which he did — he started walking back, puzzled. The blonde woman held up her hand to stop the traffic, walked into the street, picked up the scarf and returned it to the young man who smiled, turned and continued on his way. I have no idea whether the scarf was important to the young man, or whether he would have missed it at all, but it was a moving experience for me to be cooperating in this small gesture of kindness. The old man and the blonde woman smiled and waved at me, and I felt a surge of gratitude to be among such decent people in this lovely city in a dark time when the light of kindness seems so rare.

Copyright 2020 Michael Simms

10 comments on “Michael Simms: Scarf

  1. Beth Peyton
    January 1, 2020

    I loved waking up to this on this important morning. I needed it, too! We spent last night at the local watering hole at the end of our street with a wildly mixed crowd in terms of age, class, political affiliation, etc. etc. People were so very kind to one another. Someone proposed to his girlfriend (she said yes) and then we watched the chicken wing drop into the blue cheese dressing while we counted down to midnight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Andrea Hollander
    January 1, 2020

    Thanks for sharing this experience, Mike. Even more important, thank you for doing your best, along with other strangers, to return the man’s scarf to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. brendabutkagmailcom
    January 1, 2020


    Liked by 1 person

  4. melpacker
    January 1, 2020

    We often forget that our world is full of similar incidents every day or even every hour. The world is full of people who, at our very core, wish to live in peace and harmony with the environment and creatures around us. We are born with certain basic needs which include eating, sleeping, shelter from the elements, but most of all the desire to be loved, held, cradled, and through those acts we learn to love and appreciate others in return. That’s pretty much it at birth. Everything else that comes to us is the result of external forces that shape us, that teach us to dislike each other, to be suspicious, to think that we are superior, to support killing others in wars made by those who don’t serve in them. Understanding that, accepting that, and believing that means that we can understand the need for a better world and that we are capable of creating one if we can overcome the disunity created among us who profit from that disunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Vox Populi
    January 1, 2020

    Thanks, Patricia!


  6. Patricia Fargnoli
    January 1, 2020

    love this, Michael…and needed it…thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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