Hey Team,

I started my day wandering the streets of Providence, RI without direction. I had a map…but my inadequacies towards directions rendered it fundamentally ineffective. (That sounded kind of hoity-toity…let’s just say I suck at trying to get places.) So, next thing I knew I was in what can only be described as the slums of Providence as I passed one adult movie store after another. My impressions of Rhode Island were definitely spiraling downward and despite my usual tendency to avoid backtracking at all costs I decided to head back the way I had come, towards the only civilization I knew existed.

Once I was back in the “heart” of Providence I started making my way to the nearest geocache to knock out another 1/48th of an objective. On my way I realized my map had fallen out of my back pocket. Despite the fact that it was completely useless in my hands I still felt the need to go back. (I’m prone to extreme guilt when it comes to littering…save the planet, people!)

I made an abrupt about face and for the second time in a day started heading back the way I had come.

“That was a quick turn around,” The voice came from a little old lady, five feet tall with white hair and a smile on her face.

“I think I dropped my map somewhere.”

“I might have one in my car.”

Here’s the turning point of any conversation with a stranger. Everything in my body wants to say, “That’s okay, I should go get mine.” And walk away. Which is perfectly reasonable. We’re trained not to talk to strangers after all.

BUT, the one thing that has made this trip stand out from all others is the incredible people I’ve met and all the exciting things that happen in between the exciting things I actually expect. So instead (Focus on this, people. There’s a lesson to be learned here.) I decided to see where this conversation was going to go.

“You’re offering your only map to a stranger?”

“I’m a volunteer tour guide for Providence.”

And that, my friends, is the exact moment my day turned around. Suddenly, I found myself with my own personal tour guide for the next two hours! Louise literally and completely turned around my impression of Providence. It’s amazing how much history this tiny city has. (Especially considering my hometown’s only historical claim to fame is having the first sub-franchised McDonald’s.)

Here’s my soapbox speech: Everyday we run into friendly people and we don’t even know it. If someone says something to you…anything, then they’re willing to talk. If you just tripped over a curb, proving to the world your inability to walk and chew gum and someone says, “Are you okay?” don’t be afraid or embarrassed. Have that conversation, that’s when life happens. If you don’t interact with the rest of the world then you’re the only one missing out. I knew that, but today was one of those days that it really hit home.

Be nice, kids.

Just mentioning McDonald’s made me REALLY want an In-N-Out burger…THERE’S something I can hold against Providence.

I’m done.

Brett.





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