So today, I’m sitting at the top of the exit ramp, waiting to turn left and go home, and this song comes on the radio.
It’s a really long traffic light sometimes and it starts to sprinkle rain. It feels like we’re sitting there forever. But I like this song, so it’s all good.
I look across the bridge, and see a young African-American man walking from the gas station toward the freeway entry ramp, carrying a gas can. He looks about the same age as my oldest son. His pants were sagging, his long braids were peeking out from under his flat-bill cap. I thought, “Wow, I wonder how far his car is from the ramp? I hope someone stops to pick him up. That could be a long, chilly walk in the rain.”
Just then, I see a big, black pickup truck waiting to turn onto the entry ramp. A long-bearded, ballcap-wearing white guy is driving the truck. As he turns, I see he has a couple of those deer hunting decals on his back window.
Then his brake lights glow and he pulls over into the grass to offer the young man a ride.
And I smile, because this is the south and though most of the people I know try really hard not to make assumptions based on appearance, let’s face it — most people do.
It shouldn’t be unusual to see someone offering another person a ride in the rain. But with all the race issues around the nation building walls that God never intended to exist, with the media constantly telling each of us who we should fear, unfortunately — it can be all too rare to see a white redneck offering a young black man a ride.
As the light changed and I turned toward home, still listening to this song, I felt a little warm glow deep in my belly.
Maybe, just maybe, the world is indeed beginning to change.