When Two Good Men Have a Chance to Meet [OPINON]
It has been a relatively pleasant season even though the mood has remained gloomy because of coronavirus and the ongoing violence that has plagued our inner cities.
The virus has resulted in the cancelation of almost all events. Everything from the New Bedford Half Marathon to the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament has been scrubbed. Fear and uncertainty loom large even as the weather screams summer.
But every now and again, even during the gloomiest of times, we hear a feel-good story that lifts our spirits just a bit and restores our faith in humanity. I heard one such story last week involving a young man named Matthew Medeiros. I don't know much about Matthew except that he is a local real estate broker. I also know that he has a very kind heart and that he went out of his way to make someone who is very special to me very happy.
My uncle, Bob Antil, is among the most generous and kindhearted people I know. The father of six children, Uncle Bob worked hard his entire life at his business, Bob and Eileen's Super Variety Store at County and Weld Streets. He fed people who couldn't afford to eat and he extended credit to others who might have had a tough time being trusted elsewhere.
When Uncle Bob reached retirement age, he cut back on his time in the store and became a bit of a daredevil. He learned to ski. He dove from planes. He rode the rapids in a raft with the kids he didn't get to take on family vacations because his business needed him.
Uncle Bob, at 86 years old, is retired now. His wife, my Aunt Eileen, is gone. And a stroke he suffered last month has no doubt brought an end to his daredevil days. But Uncle Bob still has an eye for adventure and when he spotted Matthew Medieros in his sporty Slingshot while running errands with his daughter and best pal Sue last week, he couldn't resist asking for a ride.
Matthew was only too happy to oblige the request from this old-timer with his buttoned-down cap and a broad ear to ear smile. So, off the two disappeared for a 10-minute ride around the North End of New Bedford in Matt's Slingshot. What a wonderful sight.
To say that ride was the highlight of Uncle Bob's summer would be an understatement. It cost Matthew about 10 minutes of his busy day, but that 10 minutes meant the world to my uncle and his daughter, whose heart burst with joy and seeing her "Daddy-o" zip off around the bend with Matt.
Who in their right mind would let their 86-year-old father, who had recently suffered a stroke, take off with a total stranger in a Slingshot? A big-hearted daughter who sensed something in Matthew that made her believe her dad was in good hands. And he was.
Two very good men crossed paths last week and left a lot of happiness and memories in their wake. Thanks, Matt.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.