On June 5th, I woke up to a notification on my phone that a photographer had tagged me (@Portland_Love_Story) in this picture on Instagram. Total strangers tag me often, and it’s usually food related, because my Instagram is mostly of food in Portland. Food is my passion, and I created my Instagram to showcase it. However, another common tag that I get is from photographers shooting the beauty of Portland. Because there’s so much to love about Portland, and I guess I have the handle that says it.
But this particular photo made me think, “This is the true Portland Love Story.” The tragedy of the Portland MAX train stabbing over Memorial Day weekend was all over the news, including CNN. It was a great thing they did, standing up to bullying. And it’s awful how one instance can do so much damage.
“I wanna see it,” I told my husband. I explained the picture and the tag to him, and he doesn’t do Instagram, so he probably had no idea what I meant. I’d been emotional all morning just thinking about it.
“It’s the Hollywood District,” he told me as I drove us to lunch downtown. We live on the outskirts of Portland, although most of my focus is downtown. He asked, “Why do you care so much….I mean, besides that his daughter goes to school with Sasha?”
I didn’t have an answer at the moment. But yes, his daughter is in the sixth grade with my daughter, and they have classes together. And he was an army veteran like my husband. I have so much empathy for his family and for the other man who also lost his life. The tribute at the Hollywood Transit Center touched my heart deeply because it is an outpouring of love to these men. And a symbol of the great people of Portland. I love this city.
I asked Sasha about how his daughter was doing that day. She said she was absent, and it must have been his funeral that day because all the sixth grade teachers were out, and she had substitutes in every class. I told her I would have gone if I’d known. She didn’t understand why, if I didn’t know him personally. I explained that it’s moments like this that connects us all, even if we don’t know each other. And the men deserved all the respect for what they did.
I didn’t know as much about the other gentleman who lost his life that day, but for his actions, and as shown in the picture above, for saying, “Please tell everyone on this train that I love them,” he won many hearts over.
I love that a stranger tagged me in this picture, reaching out to share a moment of love in our community. Thanks to everyone for thinking of me and tagging me when you do. I love being a part of Portland’s Love Story.