Tonight, while waiting at the bus stop, I received quite the reminder to not stereotype or judge when I encounter others. I rolled up to the stop on my bike and quickly noticed a man who I immediately assumed was homeless. He was a Native American man dressed in all camouflage who seemed, on the outside, like he was probably without permanent shelter. I see homeless people everyday, so I tend to know that look...but not tonight.
I had been chatting with him for just a moment when he began pulling something out of a shopping bag. I watched as he pulled a newly purchased copy of Norton Antivirus out of the bag. Obviously he wasn't homeless. Obviously he was on his way home to install his new software on his computer. Obviously I was wrong about him.
While I wasn't rude to him and didn't treat him differently because of my stereotype, I was still reminded of the need to not judge others, especially before I truly know their stories. I appreciate those simple reminders. I need them.