The Man In The Yellow Raincoat

Sometimes the best source of inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. While everyone has their favorite music, books, movies etc. to help them get them through, sometimes the most random event can fill a void we may not have even know needed healing.

On a rainy, dreary day at 161st Yankee Stadium track, I ran fully motivated and full of positive energy, ready to attack the track. As I got to the track I ran into my old Hayes track coach, still improving the lives of the underrepresented young men in the community. It was a delightful encounter and I was humbled by remembering I was one of those young men about a decade ago. After our brief reunion, I proceeded to the pull-up bars where my real source of unlikely inspiration occurred.

As I was performing my pull-ups and burpee sets a man in a Yellow Raincoat entered the area on a bike with a large duffel bag. The man was an apparent vagrant and was not ashamed of his circumstances. He greeted me with a warm smile and worked on his stretches near the other side of the area.  A few minutes after, the man motioned towards me and began saying something but I couldn’t make out what he was trying to say due to my deafening music. I acknowledged him, asked him to repeat himself and asked him how he was doing when he told me to ‘keep doing what I’m doing son’. This man did not know me from the gum on the ground yet he saw something in me that he sensed was real.

I proceeded to entertain his conversations between sets when he explained he had fallen off the path in life but was on the road to redemption. He mentioned that no matter what troubles any of us are going through if we keep doing the right things that we hold true, then things will surely come together in time. He continued explaining his personal story and relating it to his purpose for being better than he’s been in years and still on the road to recovery. As the man and I continued our conversations between sets he essentially claimed to stay true to yourself and realize that bad times/ thing happens but we have the ability to bounce back if we 1. Know how 2. Are willing to pay the price/consequences 3. Forgive ourselves.

This man did not know anything about me and I did not explain anything about my personal life during our conversations, I was primarily listening. However, he seemed to hit on every point I’ve been struggling with the past few weeks and he inspired me more than any song, movie, book, quote etc. I  wasn’t necessarily inspired by what he said explicitly but more so by this undeniable connection we had — two random strangers, two areas in life, two different age groups, will probably never cross paths again but we shared a connection. For that brief period of time, we helped each other unknowingly. I’m sure I reminded the older man of himself many moons ago and he helped remind me of why I do the things I do and do not forget who I am.

Sometimes you really never know what you can learn and get from people. Some of the unlikeliest of people can make a world of a difference in one’s life. The best part about the ordeal was that this person was a real manifestation of pain, guilt, mistakes. He wasn’t a traditional motivational personality, or a respected industry professional. He wasn’t one of  YouTube clips that I love and watch daily. Nope, he was just a random 50 some year old guy that wanted to talk to a young man whom definitely needed to listen; and this random guy affected me more than any of afore-mentioned mediums.

I don’t know this man’s name and he’ll probably never read this but I would like to tell him once again. Thank you.


How can something as simple as general conversation be much more than general conversation.

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