As-salamu alaykum. Have a blessed day.

by Jamison Koehler on November 16, 2022
Baltimore graffiti

My daughter bought mad at me a pair of many years ago for submitting a website entry here complaining about the panhandlers on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Baltimore.

Doing the every day commute from Baltimore to D.C. at that time, I was beginning to really feel oppressed by the mournful appears to be like of the panhandlers shuffling by me at each stoplight on Martin Luther King Avenue.  On my way to do the job. On my way house.

My blog entry was intended to be intelligent, light-hearted.  My daughter assumed it was churlish.

You really don’t want your daughter to feel you are churlish.  

Despite the fact that I am no for a longer time commuting from Baltimore, I do move via Union Station just about every day, and Union Station has its very own challenges with panhandlers.

Also crime:   I have represented many men and women accused of owning dedicated a felony offense at the station, which includes a new stabbing.  I know where each and every surveillance digicam is positioned.  I cannot enable walking via the station with out emotion that I am becoming watched, with no imagining what my image appears to be like like on the compact Television monitor in the manage place.  

I am still churlish, notably when it arrives to the a lot more aggressive panhandlers who strategy your table at Chopt or Chipotle.  

But I do make an exception for this one unique dude.  I wait to contact him a panhandler since he never basically asks anyone for cash.  Instead, standing by the leading of the escalator down to the metro station, he bids everybody who passes him a blessed working day. 

I have a trouble with folks telling me to have a blessed working day.  (Did not my daughter accuse me of staying churlish?)  I do not like to have people’s spiritual beliefs foisted on me.  

I permit this pass for a few of days.  Then, not currently being able to assist myself, I gave him my standard “allahu akbar!” reaction. 

I believed I may be the only particular person who finds that intelligent.  But he acquired it straight away.  He laughed.  He patted his coronary heart. And then we bumped fists.

The up coming day we had the precise very same exchange, except this time, getting finished his homework, he extended it. “As-salamu alaykum,” he included.  And then:  “Have a blessed working day.”  

Again, we laughed.  We bumped fists.  I experienced to ask my son for the reaction to this: “Wa alaikum assalam.” 

This man and I have been finest mates at any time because.    

It has gotten to the position in which I glance forward to seeing him every single early morning.  We do our little trade, our non-public joke, and then we fist bump, and I proceed onto the metro smiling and in considerably greater spirits.  

On the uncommon days he is not at his customary submit, I am dissatisfied.  Usually I can hear him wishing people a blessed working day just before I can see him. One time I came all over the corner to discover he was not there.  Then I read a chuckle driving me:  “You ended up hunting for me,” he claimed.  “Weren’t you?”

Of study course I was.  

As-salamu alaykum.  Have a blessed working day.