Trying not to drop 2 bags of ice, one on each of my hand, I walked toward the unit close to the Clinic to deliver it to an inmate needing the ice for a lab procedure called 24 hour urine. He would collect his urine in a special bottle previously given and it needed to be iced so that bacteria wouldn't grow.
Hoping that the Custody Specialist [the person controlling the opening and closing of all doors in a unit] would see me since I was having difficulty buzzing the bell, I stood in front of the small glass window. There he was, the silhouette of a tall man, an inmate worker dressed up in blue, saw me instead. He flung his right hand holding a mop in the air, as the left hand with a piece of rag also alternately tried to draw the CS's attention. Through the soft glow of yellow light, I saw him pointing at me. I sensed the calmness inside, signifying the end of "chow time" or breakfast of inmates.
He waited for me at the second door that led to the different segments of the unit, ready to open the door. After that, he took one of the ice bags from my hand and cheerfully asked me if I wanted him to hold the other bag, too.
"It's okay, I got it. You have helped me so much already. Thank you," I uttered.
"You're welcome, Ma'am."
After calling the inmate who needed those ice, this inmate worker opened the door again for me. I ignored the fact that the usual friendly conversation that was discouraged in this environment as my feeling of gratitude for this kindness displayed, overwhelmed me.
"Start of shift?"
"Yes, Ma'am. I'm about to clean the G room."
"How long are you gonna' be working?"
"Well, I hope the day will be okay knowing the day shift usually is busier than the night. Take care and thank you so much for all the help you had given me."
"Have a nice day, Ma'am. That was nothing," he replied as he gave me a smile.
A short conversation that meant a lot. He was thankful for the way he was acknowledged. But he didn't know. I was more thankful for his behavior. That it was true. There was still a good thing out of the bad. That everyone deserved a chance. For them to try to make a change. He just showed me. His willingness to change. His effort to become a good person, away from the person he was once who made wrong decisions that put him inside the prison. He just shown me true courage.
The way God believed in me and never gave up on me. To show courage. Courage that is not measured by the tallest mountain we climb. Nor the widest expanse of seas we sail on. Nor the highest altitude we have flown. But the courage to say "I'm sorry for my sins" and then, making that right decision to make a change. Which is to do the right thing.