This morning I woke up expecting some sort of reminder that I am loved, because today is Valentine’s Day and that is what is supposed to happen…right? Flowers, chocolate, roses, and a love filled day…
But then something made me realize that this was a very selfish thought.
With my expectations high, and my anticipation ready to burst, I stood in line day dreaming at the gas station waiting to pay for my morning coffee.
As I stood in line I looked over my shoulder and saw the sweetest smile hidden on a man some wouldn’t deem “worthy” of Valentine’s Day. The smile was a little hard to notice at first glance. He had short pepper grey hairs protruding from his black beanie keeping his head warm, and his hands were tightly gripped around his choice of breakfast at 8 AM, a bag of Pork Rinds and lemonade.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” I said.
His wrinkles predominately fixed at the corner of his eyes dug deeper as the white smile took over his dark brown cheeks.
“Happy Valentine’s Day to you pretty lady.” He replied.
I began to make small talk asking about his plans for the day, not realizing the transportation he pulled up in five minutes prior.
He told me he retired in 1977 and his only plan was he was going to “take care of his Mama today.” How wonderful I thought.
Then without thinking I asked “Will you be my Valentine?” His smile got bigger, and he replied “I didn’t think I would have a Valentine this year, I’d love to be yours.”
“Well then you better get some candy too” I said as I picked up two tubes filled with Candy topped off with a big red heart and laid them on the counter.
I looked at the lady about to give me the total for my coffee, and I said please add on my Valentine’s order of Pork Rinds, Lemonade and candy.
As she rung up our order, and I signed my name on the dotted line he told me how much I had made his day and how happy he was that he wouldn’t feel so lonely today. I told him he was the one who made my day, and now we wouldn’t have to wonder all day who our Valentine would be because we already found each other. He asked if he could fix my car in return, but I told him the only thing he could do for me is to pay it forward and maybe gift the candy I bought for someone else who would like it. He thanked me again, and I walked out the door.
Now noticing the rusty red bike my Valentine pulled up in with a basket full of clothes, and a trash bag of belongings strapped to the back, I realized not everyone wakes up on Valentine’s Day in a warm bed, with the ability to drive to 711 and pick up a $1.66 cup of coffee. Just because I can, I thought now, it doesn’t make me entitled to the flowers, chocolate, and roses that flow freely on Valentine’s Day. But I did know that there is one thing we are all entitled to this Valentine’s Day, no matter who you are or where you come from, and that is something we are all capable of giving away freely. Love.