Saw a Man Shouting His Head Off

Saw a Man Shouting His Head Off

Imagine walking through Bedford, heading towards the Embankment where the River Ouse runs under a beautiful bridge. It’s a spot where the view catches your eye and, usually, peace is what you find.

Yet, on this day, my attention was grabbed in an unexpected way. A story unfolded before me, one that’s reshaped how I think about perception and reacting to what we see.

There was a man, dressed simply in black sweatpants and a rain jacket, standing on the bridge, yelling and waving his hands with such intensity that he became the center of attention. What goes through your mind when you see someone shouting in public? Concern? Fear? Curiosity?

That’s exactly where my thoughts went. It seemed like he needed help, yet no one was approaching him. Moved by a mix of worry and a desire to do something good, I decided to be the one to check on him.

As I walked closer, bracing myself for any outcome, he suddenly jumped on a bike and zoomed past me, only to stop a little way down and start his shouting again. It was only when I followed his gaze and saw a canoe with a team of girls rowing underneath the bridge that the real story clicked.

He wasn’t upset or in trouble; he was a coach, full of passion, cheering on his team in a race. My initial judgment couldn’t have been more off.

This moment by the bridge was a powerful lesson, not just for me, but one I carry into my talks, especially when asked about dealing with negativity or difficult people at work. It’s a reminder that no one is born with a heart full of negativity.

Ever seen a baby with a bad attitude? Neither have I. People’s actions are shaped by their stories, many of which we know nothing about.


In a recent reflection, I came across a verse from Matthew 5:43, which says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This message hit hard. It’s not easy to show kindness to those who aren’t kind to us, but it’s a journey worth taking for our growth and understanding.

So, here’s what I’m pondering: When was the last time you jumped to a conclusion about someone’s actions without knowing the whole story? Let’s challenge ourselves to look beyond the surface. Extending kindness, even when it’s tough, can change not just how we view others, but how we interact with the world.

This week, as I reflect on the importance of keeping an open mind and heart, I encourage you to do the same. Let’s not just grow in our own beliefs but also in how we see and treat those around us, especially those who challenge us. It’s in these moments that true growth happens, stretching our minds and enriching our lives in ways we never expected.

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