The Charlie Bravo Story

My man Melvin

Dad here; years ago, I started donating blood. To give you an idea as to how long ago it was, there was a bulletin board at the Red Cross donation center covered with Polaroid photographs of people who has reached particular milestones of giving; one gallon, five gallons, ten gallons, and so on. I remember thinking, wow, those guys are old! Now, almost fifteen gallons later, I’m glad that that the old bulletin board is no more, as I would now be one of those “old guys”, and I ain’t ready for that.

One of my favorite reasons for giving blood back then was talking smack with my man Melvin. He was a loud, brash, sarcastic-type with an awesome personality who could liven up a donation room, and we would mix it up to the point that all of the donors would duck their heads into their magazines and pray not to be caught in the friendly fire. As the years went by, I saw less and less of Melvin, as his personality kept him being scheduled on the mobile donation wagon; this is the kind of person you want as the face of your organization when dealing with the public.

Then the Red Cross was replaced by the Arkansas Blood Institute, and I always wondered if Melvin had made the transition, or had went on to greener pastures. Then about a month ago, in the midst of the Corvacalypse, I was donating platelets, and I heard a familiar voice. I couldn’t quite place it, as it was slightly muffled by the mask, but there was no mistaking the message: it was my man Melvin. The hair a bit grayer, perhaps, but still the same man, regardless of the color of his hair. The reason I hadn’t encountered him until now is, just like the Red Cross before them, the Blood Institute no doubt realized his gift and had him back out on the Bloodmobile. The only reason he was in the clinic that day was because of the Corona epidemic, and they had temporarily ceased their mobile donation efforts.

When you have a light, you don’t hide it under a bushel, but put it on a mountaintop for the whole world to see.

Am I trying to make a point? Nary a bit. It was just an awesome encounter that happened a few weeks ago and I was saving for a day such as this.

Go light a candle.

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