By Cory McAnelly, Iowa
"I had an amazing moment running tonight that reminded me of the power of a simple gesture. During my runs over the past few weeks I always run my warm up on the same stretch of Brady Street in Davenport. As time has gone on, some of the other faces on the route have become familiar. There is one young lady who always runs by me on the route and always puts a big smile on her face as she runs past me. It always makes me smile which tends to make my run much easier. Well, tonight as I crested the top of one of the biggest hills, I noticed her running towards me. However, instead of the upbeat smile she usually wears, she looked defeated and exhausted. The thought crossed my mind that it was my turn to smile for her and, of course, that was exactly what I did. Sadly, she didn't smile back and I felt as though I had failed in some way. Then, just as she was about to pass me, without making eye contact, without lifting her sagging shoulders, without changing her stride or her speed, she slides her left hand out into my running lane and opens her palm for what I would describe not so much as a "high-five," but definitely a "mid-five." I have a few feet to realize and react and, deciding this is what she wants, I reach my hand out to make contact. We touched hands and I continue on trying to figure out what just happened. I turned to look over my shoulder and she continued on, without breaking stride, down the hill to finish her run. Then I realized: this young lady, at the breaking point in her own run...tired, exhausted, barely able to lift her head to smile...still found a way to reach out and encourage me. My mood was instantly incredible and my run was great. I could not wipe the smile from my face. We could all stand to engage more in simple gestures when we are at our BEST, let alone when we are running on fumes and struggling to continue. Never underestimate the power that you have to do good in other people's lives and never forget to use that power as often as possible. It may seem like a stretch to think that I derived so much from something so simple...but, then again, that is the point.
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