I love wearing my traditional/African clothes during summer, though I also wear them during mild winters. I was wearing one such attire one day while still based in DC and decided to go for a walk around my office neighborhood. It just happened that I was the only pedestrian around and I passed by some homeless men who were sitting in the park. One of them called out “Excuse me, miss.” I knew I was the only person around, so I hurried up to put as much distance as possible between them and me. I was afraid of them because they looked rough.
I had a lovely walk and I had to pass by the homeless men on my way back to the office. I had forgotten all about them and was minding my own business when one of them ran straight to me and called out again “Excuse me, miss”. There were other people around but I suspected that he was talking to me, so I picked up my pace again. The guy panted after me and said “We just wanted to tell you that you are looking pretty in your traditional dress. We do not want anything else”. I was embarrassed at having thought the worst about them so I stopped and thanked the man for the compliment.
It is so easy to judge a book by its cover sometimes, isn’t it? I had thought that the men would attack me all because they are homeless. This reminded me once again that I can we wrong in my impressions of people and that I sometimes have to let people say what they have to say.