“I will remember you” he said.

Even hours after our meeting, I am remembering him.

He was only a stop on my list of errands for the day. A place I visit few times a year to drop off donations. We had cleaned out our garage after a spring cleaning. A purge of things we let go of to create space in our lives.

One bag included a bag of jeans which no longer fit due to the weight I had lost. I had kept them around in case I couldn’t hold onto my commitments, but even after maintaining success I still wasn’t sure. But they had to go so I couldn’t give myself an unhealthy safety net. I can’t go back there. So they needed to go.

And this man who greeted me was so happy to serve. He welcomed the day and my presence, when many of his predecessors barely uttered a grunt or nod in my direction. It’s fine. Early in the morning I really don’t expect much.

As we unloaded my boxes and bags, he talked and asked for my help getting some of the bigger boxes on top of a tall stack. He was much shorter than me so I gladly helped. Even on this cloudy spring day that hadn’t yet had the rains fall, he was a ray of sunshine. He emoted a wiseness beyond my years and I quickly found out why.

As I turned to leave he told me his story within thirty seconds with no expectations. He had been a doctor in his home country. He brought his family to this country years ago. He was taking English courses at the local community college and wanted to practice his English with me. He hoped he had communicated well with me today. He noticed I had stopped and was in no hurry to forget this exchange, to listen to him fully, that’s when he said it.

“I will remember you. I will remember you.” He said it multiple times as I repeated the same sentiment back.

I will remember him. And that’s what he really meant, but with all the humility that brought him here to this country. To let go and risk much and to start over in a land that brings equality. And that is where my heart was meeting him since he was asking to be seen equally.

A reminder that this is how everyone should be treated whether in person or not. A reminder that we need to let go of hurting each other. A reminder to meet each other as equals. A reminder that we still have a ways to go.

How can you create equality with those you meet?