“Remember me?” he asked. The biker in yellow reflective jacket parked his bike at the end of the driveway, and started towards me.
“Hi, I do.” I grinned amicably to the older gentleman behind me. I first met Carl the Can Man a few weeks ago—then too I was prying stubborn weeds from between my driveway’s stone pavers. That day, he had pointed to a can protruding from the recycling bin behind me. “Can I have that can?” he asked.
“Sure,” I stammered, taken aback by a stranger marching up my walkway.
Striding to me, he placed a business card in my hand. “Carl the Can Man,” it read with an address and phone number as well.
“Nice business cards,” I told him, smiling.
“My wife ordered these as a birthday present for me,” he replied. All business, he reached into my bin, retrieved the can, and headed back to the street. We spoke for a few more minutes while I introduced myself and asked him more about himself, and then he pedaled away, the yellow jacket bouncing sunshine as he disappeared down the road.
Today, he stood at the foot of my driveway, asking if I remembered him. Yes, I did. Turning to look behind me, I scanned my recycle bin for any visible cans.
“I don’t think I have any cans for you though today. Sorry.” I swiveled back to face him, expecting to see him. Instead he had walked up behind me already and was setting something down on the asphalt near me. A tall red gas station slushie stood beside my dusty metal trowel.
“That’s for me?!”
“Yep.” With no further explanation, he hopped on his bike, picked up his own gas station cardboard coffee, and steadied his bike.
“Wow, thank you. That's really sweet of you.” I picked up the plastic cup, felt the fresh chill of it hitting my fingers, and turned to look at him as he biked away.
Food from a stranger. Childhood and parental warnings raced through my head, and yet I couldn’t discern any possible motive for danger. Three and a half hours of heavy weeding and landscaping had passed in a flash for me, while bikers and cars hummed forgotten behind me. Suddenly, it was 6:45 pm, a stranger had handed me a slushie and it was time for me to go inside and make a fast supper.
Grabbing the cherry slushie, I laughed, called Daniel in, and put the tools away, all while wondering, “Food from a stranger… to drink or not to drink…?”
What do you think I did? What would you have done?
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How have you been enjoying your August weekend?