Provo River Trail Half-Marathon. We arrived just after 4:00 am and did our best to answer the endless questions that were asked of us.
What time do the buses leave? 5:00 and 5:30.
Where does the race end? Right here behind the theaters.
Do you have extra safety pins? Yes, just over there.
Do you know where I can buy some socks? I just drove for 5 hours to get here this morning and I completely forgot to pack socks! At 5:00 in the morning? Maybe Target... it's about 20 minutes from here.
And then before I knew it, I was offering her mine.
Me: "If you want, you can just have my socks. I mean, I'm not running. And if it doesn't gross you out, you're welcome to them."
Runner With No Socks: "No, that's okay. Thanks, though."
I felt so stupid. Why would someone want to wear some stranger's socks? Why did I even offer? Besides, these were some of my favorites... my multi-shades-of-blue-striped socks made with some special keep-your-feet-dry materials.
I continued to pass out numbers and answer questions.
About fifteen minutes later, someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned.
RWNS: "Hi. I'm desperate. I will totally pay you for your socks."
Me:"You can just have them. Seriously."
RWNS: "No, I need to at least pay you for them."
Me: "Here. Take them. They're a gift. From me to you... seriously."
RWNS: (Hugs me) "Thank you. This means so much to me. Really." (Hugs me again) "Thank you so much."
Me: "You bet. My pleasure."
And then, as she ran off to catch the bus to the starting line, I yelled, "Good luck!"
It warmed my heart to see that person, a perfect stranger I would likely never see again, running off in my (very obvious) stripey blue socks. The happy feeling came from the thought that a simple pair of socks had, for just a moment, turned strangers into friends.
I don't know how to explain it, but I think that moment was one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.