“OK, I’m taking off, gang. I want to get my work clothes off before 8:30,” I say as I gather up my notebook, wallet, phone, and car keys.

I probably could’ve changed after work before I had to be downtown for a race directors meeting at 6 p.m, but I had a few errands to run along the way, so I just went straight there.

I put my sunglasses on my head, though I didn’t need them anymore. It was nearly 8 p.m. and it’s dark by 7ish now. *sigh*

As I got up, an older running friend at the table behind me jumped up and said: “I’ll walk you out.”

I figured he was leaving, too, and thought nothing of it as we walked down the block to the crosswalk, passing a homeless guy sitting in the doorway of the closed dry cleaner and another guy having a heated conversation with some invisible person that he was clearly very angry with.

I was kinda glad to have a friend with me.

As we got to the corner and he waited with me, I said “Oh, you over this way, too?”

I don’t know if he responded. The light changed and we crossed.

I hit the key fob to open my car doors, and said goodbye as I got in. And, then I watched him jog across the road and go back to the meeting, and I realized he’d literally just wanted to walk me to my car and be sure I got there safely.

And, I thought about how that is what we need more of in the world. Compassion. Empathy. Kindness. People caring for one another in big and small ways. People looking out for one another. People walking each other home.

Five minutes so nobody has to go it alone.

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About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.