Humans of Chicago

I've recently started taking the Metra and I was at the FFC at Union Station and cut my workout short to catch an earlier train. Except I had the direction wrong and my train was still an hour away. So I sat in the food court just wasting time and this elderly woman came and sat down at the table I was sitting at. She was accompanied by a Metra worker and she was trying to get situated and look for her ticket.  

She had double layers of tshirts on. A white one under a lavender one. Her shoes were Velcro but the straps were undone. Her skin was a soft mocha and she had bifocals similar to my grandma. Her short and tight curled springy hair was salt and peppered.

She started talking to me about the bus she was waiting for and that she came from Cincinatti. Her third child; and daughter, just passed away from lung cancer. When her daughter told her six months ago that she needed surgery, she left Atlanta immediately to be by her side. She told me her daughter passed in her arms. She took care of all the funeral arrangements and bills and was now heading home to Atlanta. By bus. 

She showed me pictures of her puppy, Bella. And how you have to be careful not to over feed small dogs or they get fat.  She told me  how one of her other five children died in 1992. But she has 11 grandkids and 9 great grandkids. And it made her smile thinking about them.

She told me about how she hates bullies. And she knew bullies because she worked in a hospital for 46 years. And she told me about the domestic violence she saw on women and kids. And how she'd fight for them and stand up for them. And that violence was never ok. She asked me if I ever heard of parents throwing boiling water on their kids as punishment. Or women getting punched in the face by their partners. And I couldn't stop the tears.

And as I am standing up to catch my train, she says God bless you; if you do right by others, they will do right by you. 

Thank you Miss Karena. You are someone the world needs more of. Your strength is an inspiration. 

Pass on Miss Karena's spirit. Do right by others.