A girl. A journey. A new start.
I woke up this morning and while lying in bed and browsing YouTube, I came across this beautiful message:
It literally brought tears to my eyes. I realized in that moment how much I miss home. Just a ‘thank you’ or ‘how are you?’. Normal things.
There was a street ‘kid’ up the road from where I lived in Morningside, Johannesburg. For months I would chat to him every morning on my way to work. He stood at the traffic light and when it was red we would fit in a bit of time to greet and chat. And when the traffic light was green, I would drive past slowly enough to touch his hand and say hello.
One day I realized that I didn’t know his name and as I was giving him food the next morning, I asked him what his name was. ‘Nkosinathi’, he responded. Happiest guy despite his circumstances.
What I loved most about Nkosinathi is that even though he had nothing, he actually never asked for anything. He stood at the traffic light every morning, greeted loads of us with an infectious smile and occasionally danced – just for fun!
The last time I saw Nkosinathi was Women’s Day in South Africa. It was a few days before I moved from where I was staying and 2 weeks before I moved to New York. It was a Saturday morning. He’s usually not at the traffic light on Saturday mornings so I was pleasantly surprised to see him as I was making my way to the mall. As I drove past we greeted and he shouted out “happy women’s day”. I turned the corner and made an indication with my right hand out the car window that I was coming back.
When I drove past again on my way back home I called out the window for him to meet me in the parking lot at the shopping centre right where he stands everyday.
His first words were “Sister, do you want me to wash your car for you?”.
I said to him, “Are you mad!!!??? I only called you over because you wished me a happy women’s day and the only way my day will be great, is if I make your day better.”
I took his hand and we walked into the Pick n Pay’s warm cooked food section having a conversation about his ill Mom and all the dreams he has for his future. I got him some lunch and dinner and a 2 liter of Coke. He tried to get the fake Coke because he said I was spending too much money on him and I said ‘absolutely not!’.
When we got to the counter and I was paying, he broke into a pool of tears. I had never seen Nkosinathi do anything but smile. His gratitude was so overwhelming, it assured me that where I was at that moment was exactly where I was meant to be.
As we parted ways I said, “Pack up and go home now. There’s no need to still be standing in the streets getting money on this beautiful day. You have food for the day”. He looked at me and said, “Thank you. But the reason I was out here today was to get money to go and watch a movie. I miss watching movies.”
He even knew the movie he wanted to watch by name. I was impressed. I gave him a R100 note and said, “Now you can go home”. He cried even more and tried to give it back to me and I got into my car and told him to enjoy the movie. I watched him walk away. He didn’t go back to the traffic lights. He went home. Wherever home is.
When I saw this clip, I thought of Nkosinathi, and it just took me back to a beautiful place in my life.
If any of you live in Johannesburg and are ever driving up Outspan Road, turning onto Rivonia Road by Morningside Shopping Centre, look out for Nkosinathi. Tell him I said ‘Hi’.