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We're On The Same Team




We're On The Same Team

Tami Inoue

"O-o-o....can I make it?!?"

I slid into the elevator behind a group of 6 and looked at the lit up "5" button that had been pushed.

I heard someone behind me say, "Oh good, we're all going to 5".

"Aaaaactually, I'm going to 4" I laughed and jokingly cringed as I pushed the button below theirs and added, "I'm so sorry! I'm going to make you all stop at floor 4!"

All six of them started teasing me and were like, "G-i-i-i-i-r-r-r-r-r-l!!" and "Whaaaaaaat???? You're making us stop at 4???"

I liked them.  Immediately. There's something about a good elevator ride with strangers that can really make my day.  I assumed they were a family...and one I'd want to hang out with.  They were laughing, fun, and teased me instantly.

I gave it right back with, "I know! Aren't you soooo glad I slipped in right at the end?! Ha!"

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The gentleman standing on the other side of the elevator leaned over and said, "Well, now, what color is she wearing...that'll make the difference."

We were all coming from the Ohio vs. Wisconsin game...and they were clearly Ohio fans as the girl standing beside me had a temporary Ohio tattoo sticker on her cheek and the gentleman asking was wearing a Buckeye's sweatshirt.  

A lady behind me laughed and said, "Mmmmm-hmmmm. That's right."

I pointed at his shirt and excitedly said, "Ohio! I promise, I cheered for Ohio! We were on the same team!! I think even if people had shown up Wisconsin, they probably walked out Ohio!"

They all laughed and said, "Okay then...I guess we don't mind stopping."  The girl beside me was laughing.  We were all laughing.  It was a good moment...

The elevator stopped and right then, the gentleman looked at me very intently and said, "This is what the world needs right now...a few more elevator rides like this. We're all on the same team after all."  It took me just a second to realize that he was referring to the fact that they were an African American family, and I wasn't. 

I said, "You're right.  You're absolutely right.  I love that so much."

I looked beside me at the lady I'm assuming was his wife and gave her a quick side hug.  She had tears in her eyes and she squeezed back.  The doors opened and I thanked them for the ride and walked out.

The exchange was so simple, but one that touched me deeply and profoundly.

It reminded me of a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. where he said,

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

To my elevator friends, I'm glad we're on the same team.