Dr Maya Angelou, Roy Thompson Hall, May 25th, 2011
As soon as I heard that Dr Angelou was going to be giving a talk in Toronto, I knew that I would be there. I just had it in my heart that I would be in her presence, even if I was far from the stage she would be on. I knew that I would be lifted and humbled and inspired by her, but what I did not know when I entered the doors of Roy Thompson Hall that evening was that I would make another person, a complete stanger, happy.
My friend Matt and I had decided to see Dr Angelou together. I bought the tickets for three of us – for myself, for Matt and for Matt’s friend. A week or so prior to the show, Matt’s friend backed out and we were left with an extra ticket. I thought about inviting someone else to join us but the weekend before Dr Angelou’s talk, I had gone travelling (my soul food) to New York City. It was the same weekend on which at 6pm that Saturday, the world was going to end and although I knew that wouldn’t actually happen, I just didn’t think about that extra ticket which I had in my possession. Instead, I took in the sights and sounds and smells (some good and some bad!) of the Big Apple and figured out some of my own truth which was liberating to me. But I digress…
Matt and I met outside of the hall that evening as raindrops were just starting to come down sporadically. We hadn’t seen each other in a little while so we were chatting away as we stepped inside the box office entrance of Roy Thompson Hall. I don’t know what was it about the woman which caught my eye. It could have been her pink jacket or her pretty dress with a bright print or perhaps it was that small sign she held up in front of her. I had almost passed her, but something made me stop and take a step back to read her sign. Written on blue paper with a bright blue marker it said something like “If you have an extra ticket I’ll buy it from you and I’ll be very thankful”. So I looked into the face of this pretty lady and I said “I have an extra ticket”. I do not remember if her immediate reply was “Thank you Jesus” or “You do?!” but what I do remember is that her whole face lit up with a huge smile. Her energy was incredible. I came to find out, through all of her excited chatter, that her name was Lisa, she was a mother of three who’s husband had just come to Canada (thanks to her sponsorship), who was short on money but was willing to spend some of it on being in the presence of Dr Angelou that evening. Lisa, with her single-use camera, took a picture with me because she “wanted to remember everything about this” evening as it meant so much to her. I don’t remember how many thank you’s I received from this woman that evening but I was thankful for her smile. Even before Dr Angelou stepped on to the stage that evening, I felt lifted, humbled, inspired and oh so very grateful. Isn’t it amazing to be able to make a complete stranger happy? What a gift Lisa gave me! For it, I am forever grateful.
“They” say that everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that. Although sometimes we look for reasons in things where it’s not appropriate, can you imagine how I felt when Dr Angelou started speaking about how you never know how you’ll affect someone and that you can always do more! And it’s actually true!
I’m not a professional videographer and I appologize for the added noise by my goofy laugh, but I do hope that you are able to get something good out of watching one of my rainbows in the clouds.