Today, as I was sitting on a bench, I met a gypsy old man. Actually, he met me. He politely asked if he could have a seat next to me. For the first time in my life, I allowed such a person to join me on “my” bench. He didn’t want to bother, he just wanted to rest his feet, I guess. He only sat down when I said it was OK. I was sitting in the shadow part of the bench, he sat in the sun. But he didn’t complain about that, he was happy watching kids and that someone was there. He was, just like any other human being, looking for company, at least for a short while.
He would, soon, begin talking to me. At first, about kids. How they are adorable while they’re still young enough to love you as a parent. The next thing I learned was that he was abandoned and completely forgotten by his own kids. He was sad. He needed someone to talk to. So I let him follow that wish. On the contrary of what I would have expected, he didn’t share the story of his life with me. He didn’t tell me he had nothing to eat or nowhere to wash, maybe. However, as soon as I offered him some pretzels, he refused. I was amazed. So much common sense in a person I never imagined to be as such! I made him a second offer, but he turned that down as well. As I said, he wasn’t there to bother or invade anyone’s space.
Then, he told me about cultural differences. Differences in regards to being human, differences concerning the ways of thinking, differences about speaking up and defending birth rights, in different countries he would have worked in, including his residence one.
The last thing we discussed about was the quality of today’s food. And level of living, generally. He was disappointed of what’s going on.
At some point, all of a sudden, he stood up and left…
Why am I telling you this? Because today I managed to break a personal barrier, in regards to the concept of fearing gypsy people. I learned a new lesson. All this event made me understand – once again, under a new light – that people are people, regardless of their origin, skin color, race, religion; despite all prejudices, if they need to be listened to, doing so comforts their souls. Even if for a few minutes.