A story about a much older man I met today (Oct 13th) in Germany.

Seat to the left (the stranger) and seat to the right with the book (mine)

I was sitting in a park reading a book. Some minutes after a much older gentleman came and sat on a bench near mine. I thought to myself that he looked quite sad. He had a little radio and two(2) cans of beer.

He said hello as he passed then he sat down, little with his little radio playing music (at a low volume). The songs playing were from mainly female American artists like Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry, and I found it a bit amusing.

He sat there calmly for about 20 minutes, just staring at the trees and slowly looking around. Then he stood to leave and stopped in front of me and asked if I was a student. My city, Aachen, has a very popular engineering university (RWTH) which attracts overseas students.

I told him no and that I work in the city. He asked which field and I told him IT Security. He seemed to make a connection and then started to ask me about specific programming languages.

I could tell that he had some technical knowledge. He went on to tell me that he is an engineer who used to develop code for *** (an internationally popular software security company). I was impressed.

He said he was now in Germany because his mother is ill and may not have much time left and he’s here to take care of her.  He took breaks between his statements almost as if he had a lot on his mind that was stressing him. Then with much humour, he said, his father (who had already passed away) once told him that if you don’t want to grow old, then you should die young. We laughed ?

We started to talk about how peaceful it is to come to the park and relax because of all the trees and plants around. Then he said he WISHED HE COULD SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF THE TREES BECAUSE THEY HAVE LOTS OF STORIES TO TELL.

He wished me luck with my reading (a book to teach me German which I shared with him), shook my hands and slowly left. I didn’t get his name, but I believe his words will have some long-term positive impact.

If you’re reading this, you may have your own moral of the story. But I wished I had said something to him sooner after I realised he was sitting there for a while looking sad.

One of the things I try to remember is that we all have our own stories and personal life issues handling. So please try to be kind to a stranger today who looks like they could use someone to talk to about an issue.

Note: This was first posted on my Twitter profile at https://twitter.com/HackingGavin/status/1051103706777886726 on October 13, 2018.