The Magic of Saying Hello

By Demetrius Carrington


My office is in downtown Detroit, and I park about three blocks away. On the short walk I see a mosaic of people, first the new Detroiter, normally a white person walking an expensive dog, the everyday person, the delivery people, the construction worker, the hotel worker, and restaurant personnel.

I admittedly, turn a five-minute walk into a ten-minute stroll as I encounter the folks along my way. I tend to speak to everyone. Most woman are polite but keep it short and sweet fearing I may start shooting my shot so to speak. The new Detroiter tends to be younger and more arrogant, so they ignore my greeting about half the time.

But one day I noticed when I spoke with another black man the exchange of energy was very different.

The experience was like speaking to someone familiar at first, I thought it was a fluke but day after day I had the same experience. By just saying hello I could see that I was giving these men a bit of something that they needed. Perhaps just a little kindness or maybe a few seconds of relief from something heavy on their minds. Whatever it is they needed it and I needed the love they sent back.

We all live a unique experience in America but being a black man can sometimes be very hard. Sometimes the world isn’t kinds to us, we’ve all had a rough two years but while we are all dealing with the pandemic black people were also suffering through police brutality. We will never forget seeing George Floyd being killed right before our eyes and he was just one of many.

Trauma like that just doesn’t go away and with the death toll from COVID, I’m sure pain still lingers in all our minds so my hello might be just what they need.

The feeling that I get back is also amazing. I feel a kinship. I need that love too, I get good vibes from speaking to everyone but again, it’s just somehow different when it's another black man.

I’m not going to put much energy into trying to figure this out, I’m going to keep speaking and spreading love and soak in all the love I get back.

That saying that goes something like, “be kind because you never know what the next person may be going through” is such a profound statement.

I challenge you, start saying hello to people along your way and watch the magic happen.