My first morning in Bermuda, last week, I woke up and set off for my three miles of mindful walking in paradise. I fully expected to have one of the best mindful walks a person could possibly hope for, and I got just that.
I walked along famous Front Street, breathing in and breathing out paradise.
Breathing in, I am grateful to be on this island paradise.
Breathing out, I am awake and aware in this beautiful place.
I took in the incredible views of the harbor, the sun rising over the east side of it. The beautiful Front Street stores. The people all saying "Good Morning" as is their custom for all. It was exactly what I expected and it was wonderful.
Just as I neared the 1.5 mile point, where I would turn around and head back, at Crows Lane Roundabout I saw a statue of a bearded man stepping forward and waving with both hands. I snapped a picture and figured I would check it out later.
A little further along, right where I turned around to head back, I saw a man who looked exactly like the statue leaned forward in the roundabout waving with both hands to all the people coming in to Hamilton for work. This spot is where all the traffic pours in to the city in the morning.
The man, whom I later learned was Johnny Barnes, was waving at all the drivers and saying "I Love you, We Love you!". He spotted me, and shouted across to me "Hey buddy, don't forget we Love you, we Love you! Have a great day!"
I was so stunned, taken aback and positively filled with happiness from this guy who simply radiated happiness and joy, I waved back and told him I loved him too. I walked back to my hotel and went about my day and I'm telling you that my day was ten times brighter because of this stranger who so sincerely told me he loved me. Not because he loved me, although that was sweet, but that this guy was such a shining example of happiness.
I did a little research, and it seems Johnny Barnes is a local legend. He's Bermuda's very own Good-Will Ambassador and he's darned good at it! Seems that he was an electrician until about 1948, then a bus driver. Then, according to legend, on his way to work one day he just stopped and "took up waving at people".
He can now be found pretty much every morning, there, from 5am to 10am making people smile. Some people assume he's a crazy man, but he's not. He's a happily married man, allegedly, who by all accounts is just HAPPY!
How cool is that?
The world needs more Johnny Barnes. Every City and town could benefit from a good will ambassador like Mr. Barnes. I hope he lives many years to come and keeps doing what he's doing. He certainly warmed my heart on a day I didn't think it could be any happier than it already was!