Sunday, February 11, 2018
Today I am grateful for strangers. I’m still pouring over stories in my head from the super bowl parade in Philadelphia. The news spends a lot of time talking about how rude, tough and classless the sports fans are. Not true. At least not that I’ve witnessed.
Like at the parade. In the vast sea of people, I wouldn’t have even noticed what my son could see from his 6’3 vantage point, telling me to watch. An elderly gentleman in an Irish-green hoody, eased his way along the street next to the iron fencing. Pushing his seated walker in front of him he seemed to be looking for someone or something. And a little confused.
A cop walked up to him and said something that no one but him could hear, what with the din of “We Are the Champions” and “Eye of the Tiger” and “The Rocky Theme”, interlaced with the Eagles fight song and chant resonating like a blender with a stuck switch. We thought he might be giving him a hard time for being on the wrong side of fence on the parade route.
Then the cop put his hand on the shoulder of the old man and steered him to a group of young fans pressed against the fence. The cop moved the fence enough for him to squeeze through, the anxious fans parted like the Red Sea to let him in. They pushed and jostled each other aside making an open space for his walker. With great care and kindness they planted him on the seat and handed him a beer as the cop readjusted and closed the fence in front of him.
And there he sat for the entire parade. Front and center. Drinking free beer. Because the rude, crass, Eagles fans and yet another amazing cop insisted. That’s the Philadelphia I know. Strangers, now friends forever.