Just a few moments ago, an elderly gentleman came into my work place. He asked me how my day was, and as an automatic response I told him that I was fine. In return, I asked him how he was.
I expected to get a basic response back, but he told me that he was recovering from colon cancer and recently had his colon removed. He then lifted his shirt to show me the recent scar from his surgery. At first, I felt uncomfortable knowing such intimate detail about this man, but realized that he was just lonely and needed someone to tell his troubles to, so I listened.
He continued to tell me that colon cancer is what killed his mother, and that it upsets him knowing that there are so many people out there with cancer that don’t even know it. He said if it had not been for him feeling bad and deciding to get it checked out, he wouldn’t be alive. He had stoic, yet sad eyes. Even with all of his hardships, he was grateful about everything he has in his life.
His ride had to go several hours up North to visit her mother, so he had no way to get home. He was ashamed to ask, but he wanted to know if I had $0.75 so he could take the bus back. I gave him some money to get home, and that’s when he asked me if I was Indian. I wasn’t sure how to handle this question because being interracial I have endured some racism in my life, so on the defense I said “…no..I’m half Chinese”. He showed me his dreamcatcher necklace, and it turns out he’s part Cherokee and just wanted to know because I seemed like a nice person.
That was the end of that, and he walked away. I hope he has the best of luck with life in the future.