It is Monday, September 14, 2009. I woke up at 4:45 a.m., the usual time for Boot Camp however, this time when I dressed; it was not in my usual Warrior of Wine T-shirt, sneakers and pants. Today I was dressing in a semi-casual outfit and had to put on my make-up so I wouldn’t scare anyone. You see, today I would be traveling to the ivory towers of downtown Miami. Today I would appear as a prospective juror for criminal court.
I am a person who does not go out of Homestead unless they pay me. Once I get above Cutler Ridge, I get a nose bleed from going so far north. A good friend advised that I should take the Metro Express bus number 34 that takes you to the Dadeland South Metrorail Station and you get a transfer from the bus driver. Others told me to go to Dadeland North for easy parking and get on the Metrorail there. I really think that the bus to Metrorail would be really convenient but I chickened out and decided to go to Dadeland North.
I packed my bag the night before with all the essentials I felt I would need for a boring day. I included my laptop, book, umbrella and some healthy snacks so that I would not be in trouble with my trainer. I thought about packing lunch but my bag was getting heavier by the minute. I may have been missing Boot Camp this morning but I was still going to be lifting weights. I was on the road at 5:45.
Arriving at Dadeland North, I looked for the open parking lot that I remember from years ago. After going around the block two times, I realized that the parking lot had been replaced by a parking garage so I joined the line of cars entering the garage and find a space. I actually thought I was lucky as I found a big enough place where I could back up my truck into the space. I pulled in like placing a hand in a glove and was proud of myself. There was a lady exiting the car next to me who informed me that I better pull in the opposite way or I would get a ticket. I did not see a sign to that effect so how was I or anyone else who does not use Metrorail regularly going to know that? I thanked her and pulled forward.
By the time I gathered my overloaded bag, the woman was gone so now I had to figure out where to go. I then noticed an African American gentleman who had parked next to me so I decided to ask him if I was going the correct way for the Metrorail. Little did I know that this gentleman, Milton Cooper, would become my angel. He informed me I was going the correct way and he walked along with me. He asked if I had the number of my parking spot which I did get because I did not have any breadcrumbs to leave a path to find my car in the massive garage.
Mr. Cooper took me to the turnstiles for the Metrorail. He explained that you pay for parking once inside. I paid the woman two dollars as the turnstiles are being converted to accept tickets instead of tokens. At that time, Mr. Cooper asked if I had the $4.00 in change or tokens for parking. Of course not, so I had to exit the turnstiles and go to the change machine. Mr. Cooper changed the bills and we once again returned and entered through the turnstiles where he entered my parking space number and received a receipt. We then went upstairs and waited for a train.
While assisting me, I realized that Mr. Cooper had already missed one train and I apologized but he said it was no problem. Once on the train, we chatted. Mr. Cooper lives in Homestead, works for the prison system and makes this commute every day. He explained that he would be getting off at the Government Center but that I would travel on for three more stops to Civic Center. He reinforced the directions my husband gave me as to where to walk once I was off of the Metrorail and gave me instructions for the travel back home.
I arrived without incident and was called down to a courtroom at 11:30 and then promptly sent back upstairs. I sat around and finally they called me and sent me home.
I did realize that Boot Camp has even helped with my jury duty. You see, as I walked several blocks from the Metrorail to the courthouse, I did so at a fast pace and it was pleasurable. I was not short of breath and I felt very comfortable even lugging my heavy bag. Keeping in mind that I think my trainer, Oshun, has eyes in the back of her head, I also took the steps at the Metrorail station instead of the escalator on the way back.
There are so many people in this world who do not have any concern for their fellow man. Many people want to keep to themselves. Mr. Milton Cooper is one of those people who confirm that there are good people left in today’s society. Never once did he make me feel like I was delaying him or that he was too busy to help me. He was patient and kind and went out of his way to assist me, a complete stranger, with my travel.
I am a recruit in Boot Camp and it was my pleasure to meet someone like Mr. Milton Cooper!