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Stopping to say hey to a familiar face, I rolled down my window to speak to Tarik on Ethel Street. “You coming out to ride with us?” Reservation. “Naw I ain’t gonna rob you.” Confusion. “What? I didn’t say anything about robbing me!” “Oh I thought you said ‘You gone rob us?'”
In actuality, I met with some college students days prior who were interested in starting a small business–a lawn care service working with disenfranchised youth age 16-24 to be exact. Their ask of me as an “experienced” non-profit leader was to connect them to real people who could give more insight on what would motivate a young person to want to work in said business.
Always down to connect to current residents in Orange Mound, I agreed to assist. To chauffeur them around. Not really having a plan, I drove the University of Memphis and Southwest college students around looking for real people to talk to. Somehow, we ended up on Ethel Street and I recognized a familiar face I had called out to earlier on a bike ride to “come ride with us next time.”
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People watching is one of my most favorite hobbies. Humans are by far the most interesting creatures roaming the earth. So complex. So simple. So difficult. So willing. A mixed bag full of all things good and all things bad–I love us.
We walked away with more perspective. I was able to use Tarik’s input to write a story for my friend’s blog. The college students were able to strengthen their business plan. What Tarik got out of the interview, I am not sure? An opportunity to vent??
According to Merriam-Webster, reciprocity means “the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide how much good and how much bad came from our experience.
Just another neighborHOOD reflection.
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