No Is Nice.

Friday, December 7: Sometimes “no thank you” is the nicest thing to say.

Example #1: I bought my post-run extra large coffee at Manny’s Deli this morning. My favorite crossing guard stood boldly in the midst of rush-hour traffic on Summit Avenue. The woman doesn’t need a whistle to stop cars, buses, or trucks: she just gives one flash of her neon-green gloved palm and that’s-right-you’re-stopping glare. She’s out there every school day, making sure everybody — me, school kids, commuters, dog walkers, elderly people — gets across that intersection safely. In rain, snow, or hair-raising humidity, the woman is out there, doing a damn good job, greeting us all with a smile, even sharing her dried fruit snacks with me because “honey, you need to eat something after your run”.

I didn’t feel the morning chill today because I was sweaty and drinking my lawsuit-hot coffee, but the crossing guard’s reddened cheeks showed above the neck gaiter pulled up to her nose.

That woman deserves a hot cup of coffee and one of Manny’s killer bagels, I thought.

“Hey, can I treat you to a coffee and bagel?” I asked as she guided me across Summit Avenue.

“No thank you,” she answered and smiled.

No thank you? Had I offended her? Before I could ask, she leaned closer and whispered, “My rule is no drinks while I’m working. There’s nowhere to go potty, you know?”

Did I know? As a runner with a thimble-capacity bladder, I completely knew! I laughed and admitted to her that I plan my running routes according to available port-o-potties (gotta love construction sites).

“I’ll take a rain check on the coffee, but the bagel…” she said.

“Whatever you want, I’ll get it. My pleasure.”

And making that purchase really was.

Example #2: Inspired by my sister-in-law, and to be shared tomorrow.



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