I am forced to confess I always thought he was kind of a nutjob, actually.
Too loud. Big mouth. Big smile big teeth big hair big personality.He is old too. Older than I am. And that means he's old. But less than a year sober, and this his first time in AA, so he faces the very unique challenges and occasional despair of that particular path.
I always said Hi to him at the meetings, but I confess I did not work to grow especially close to him or reach out beyond a general, unfocused welcoming demeanor. It's not that I shunned him at all -- believe me -- but let's just say it was easy to be busy helping other people and to just give him a smile and a hello rather than very much more. I will help anyone, I have neither criteria nor agenda, but in a room full of alcoholics it is certainly possible to let the mill of people pull you a bit nearer to some and a bit further from others.Tonight I watched him go up to a newcomer sitting alone in the back row, and gently but firmly, not taking no for an answer, invite them to sit up front, in the empty seat next to him.
He is still a nutjob, and too loud, but this evening he is my hero, and there is every chance he saved a life tonight.