Last Thursday afternoon, as we shared a cup of coffee, I stood with a young man in the howling, freezing, biting wind.
He didn't take a meal, he just wanted a hot cup of coffee.
He went on about how good it was of us to come.
I responded with the truth, "I'm just here hanging out with good people."
As we talked, he thanked me again, saying, "The world needs more people like you, Larry."
I replied, "Well, thank you, but I could say the same about you. The world would be better off with more people like you."
He hung his head slightly, "I don't know about that. I'm afraid it would be darker than it is."
Remarkably, he went on to tell me that he had just left prison and, like about everyone in his situation, was having a tough time finding a job. He told me that he had completed 36 job applications with no job offer coming back to him.
Then he said the most startling thing. "You treat us like we're human beings here. That's not true in many places, Larry."
Later that evening I enjoyed dinner with a room full of physicians.
When it came my time to speak, I told them about my young friend on the corner. I noted that they treat and care for people as a professional pursuit, and that we all remain grateful for their skills and commitment.
But I went on to reference my young friend's comment, noting, "The most important thing for us all is to treat people like human beings in everything that we do.
The wisdom of "the Corner" continues to amaze, direct and inspire me.