My Guardian Angel is a Drug Dealer with Face Tattoos
by Gen Williams
The nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me…
I just came back from Atlanta for my team’s big customer event. Between the time change, prepping for sessions, attending other sessions, and networking, the entire group of us were exhausted by the end of the week. Normal teams would probably call it an early night, but my team has never ascribed to that standard. Our relief and happiness at the successful end of the event led us from dinner, to Manhattan tasting, to concert, to an empty karaoke bar in the middle-of-nowhere Atlanta outskirts, where we shed our jackets, bags, and, most importantly, any remnants of lingering anxiety about singing in public.
Hours passed as we sang, drank, and danced. After a particularly passionate rendition of Prince’s “Kiss” with one of my panelists from that morning’s session, I learned that my purse had been stolen, not once, but twice. I was stunned at my stupidity for leaving it out, unattended. After Atlanta, I had plans to meet friends in Park City for some early spring skiing before heading back to San Francisco. The flight was in less than 8 hours.
Miraculously, both times the purse was stolen, it was retrieved by a mysterious stranger. The second time, someone actually chased the perpetrator out of the bar and down the street to reclaim it, the bartender told me, as he produced the purse he was keeping behind the bar for safe keeping. In fact, the Good Samaritan was still at the bar, and a man in a nondescript outfit in the corner of the bar was pointed out.
I walked over to thank him, and was surprised at how nonchalant he was about the situation. He had saved my weekend getaway! He had prevented the awful task of going to the DMV and calling every bank to replace IDs and credit cards. This was the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me – and he had done it without knowing whose purse it was or even bothering to let me know what he’d done (the bartender had told me – I might not have even had the chance to thank him had left before me).
I looked at his face for a reaction and realized it was covered in tattoos. There was an awkward silence, and I filled it by telling him I was going to hug him and following through. He didn’t hug me back, or, for that matter, really respond at all.
I felt our interaction had come to a close and went back to talk to my coworkers. The next day, as everyone was texting each other about the night before, I learned my tattooed friend from last night was also a drug dealer. I guess you need to be pretty comfortable with danger to chase a thief for a stranger.
I have never really had anything against drug dealers, aside from the general notion that they support one aspect of an industry that is pretty harmful to society. That same logic, however, holds other parties partially accountable: policy makers for creating short supply and driving demand up, systems that create ever widening income inequality and lack of opportunity that drive people to these risky professions, and so on. Ultimately, we all share responsibility in some way when society systematically fails the same group of people time and again.
For these reasons and more, I don’t expect people marginalized on the edge of society to put their neck out in this way for a stranger. Twice. I’m amazed at the capacity of human goodness and how it can truly come from anywhere at anytime. My guardian angel is a drug dealer with face tattoos, and I could not be happier about it.