There’s a cyclist at White Rock Lake who likes to say good morning. No big deal, right? Well, this guy says it to every single person he passes. Joggers, walkers, other cyclists—he shouts, “Morning! Morning!”
I also ride at the lake. I’m a clockwise guy, if you are keeping score. Morning Guy is a counterclockwise guy. For years he has given me that greeting. Each time, it’s a surprise. I’ll be riding along, focused on not hitting a small child with a death wish or not getting clotheslined by a dog’s leash and: “Morning! Morning!” He’s gone before I even fully process that I just got a cheerful greeting from Morning Guy. He always brings me a smile. And I always spend a few minutes wondering what grade of lunacy fuels him. So I tracked him down.
I’ll be riding along, focused on not hitting a small child with a death wish and: “Morning! Morning!” He’s gone before I fully process that I just got a greeting from Morning Guy.
Joe Chatham is a retired Dallas motorcycle cop who runs a youth-focused nonprofit called Empower Your Future. He cycles about 350 miles and six days per week. Turns out, he lives a few blocks from me. Three years ago, he read about a Golden Gate Bridge jumper who had survived and said he wouldn’t have tried to end his life if someone had shown him kindness. That story and Chatham’s drive to make the world a better place led him to start saying good morning to everyone.
I asked if he ever gets tired of it, because now, even if he wanted to, he couldn’t do a single loop around the lake without greeting everyone he sees. Chatham laughed, which he does easily, and said, “It’s not about me. It’s about all of us. It’s about doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.”
So the answer is high octane. That’s the sort of lunacy that fuels Joe Chatham. The best kind.
Oh, one more thing: not everyone is a Morning Guy person. Chatham told me about one woman he knows who actually took the time to send him a profanity-filled text expressing how much she did not appreciate his salutation. Me, I would aim to run the woman down next time I found her at the lake, see if that was more to her liking. Chatham, he just laughed.