Sometimes it hurts.

It was both very dark and very cold at 4:15 this morning when I was inspired by a young black father in line at Walmart.

Waiting for the checker, I asked “Sick kid?”

“Yeah, all night,” as he laid out a small pharmacy on the check stand. We talked about the pain of a parent when kids hurt and he shared she’d been sick most of this week and how being a single father it was difficult to leave her home while he was at work ten miles away.

The checker arrived, he paid and we shook hands, both desperately praying for a speedy recovery for his little girl. My purchase made, I walked out into the dark, cold morning to see him fidgeting with the lock on an old bicycle.

Turns out, he lived four miles up Boulder Highway and didn’t relish the cold ride home or the couple hours ahead for a nap before riding that same rickety bike across town to his job.

After much insistence on my part, we packed up his bike and drove the distance, pulling into the drive of a small trailer where he and his six year old lived. I wished him well and he said thanks. Nothing more needed said, just the chance meeting of two fathers who may never meet again but who love their kids so much sometimes it hurts, and an inspiring way to begin both our days.

He’s a real life hero. Kayla, get well soon. Your dad loves you a whole lot.

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