By Tony Davis
Years ago, I worked at a homeless shelter in downtown Denver. Part of my job entailed helping people get their day started and as part of that I utilized my spontaneous sense of humor, a lot of clowning gear and quite often played music from local radio stations over the facility's PA. I was famous with my clientèle for always being able to make them feel good about the potentials of their day and send them off with a smile.
It was the night before Halloween and I needed to get a costume together for the next morning. I went into our clothing room to see if there was anything there I could use. On this occasion, the only things I could find were a very small pair of Mickey Mouse ears and a very small cape about the size of a small towel. So be it. I had a rat nose as part of my clowning gear, so with the rat nose, the diminutive ears and cape, I became El Raton for the occasion!!!
I'm a big person and the tiny ears and cape made my costume that much funnier, and the rat nose certainly helped. As the morning of Halloween progressed, my costume combined with my general silliness and some tunes off the radio provided more laughs myself and the residents than we'd had in a long time. Truly, a good time was had by all!!!
Finally it was 9am and time for those who could to leave the shelter for the day. I was standing at the bottom of three flights of stairs and happened to hear a woman and her young child coming down from the family rooms located on the third floor. Her son was almost in tears. He didn't want to go to school because he was going to be the only one who didn't have a Halloween costume.
Suddenly I realized why I'd only been able to find the smallish ears and cape for a costume!!! The realization about knocked me over as the Synchronicity Express ran into me full force!!! I knew the mother and her son and called out to him. With a silly Spanish accent I told him... "Johnny... El Raton has something for you!!!" "What?," Johnny asked. "Come on down and find out young man," I told him.
Johnny came down the stairs ahead of his mom and when he saw me as El Raton, his eyes got as big as the sky!!! I said "Johnny, I've been up all night and I'm going home. El Raton wants to go to a Halloween party, so would you be him for me?" Johnny was almost in happiness shock with this sudden turn of events...
I have a huge vocabulary and I know how to use it, but... I don't think I could find the words to describe the joy I felt when I helped Johnny into his El Raton costume, complete with the rat's nose. In a teasing way, I also taught him how to say "El Raton" with just the right inflection. That "language lesson" was certainly good for a few laughs between us!!! Johnny could barely contain his joy and his mom was absolutely radiating!!! It was an incredible experience for all of us and I felt very fortunate to be part of it!!! The next day Johnny's mom told me that he'd told her that everyone loved his costume and he'd had the best day he'd ever had in his life...
I learned a lot with that experience... The night before I didn't feel like I'd put much of a costume together, but it was what it was, I had patience and I worked with it. With a little time and a beautiful synchronicity, it turned out that the costume I'd found was perfect!!! There's a big life lesson in that.
!!! HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!!