An old man named James pulls up outside an Ent credit union in downtown Colorado Springs. He staggers, struggles, his face bloody and bandaged.
The guard springs into action.
“Let me help you out there,” Eddie Trimuel said, lending a hand on that blustery morning.
James explains that it was the wind that did this to him. I blew it hard.
Eddie sighs. “I hate that.”
James hates it too. But he’s happy to have Eddie.
People have long been happy to see this patroller, this surprise source of happiness.
It’s serious work, and he takes it seriously—always alert, shoes always polished like the Navy taught him. He is equally unwavering in his philosophy of smiling, finding joy and spreading it. “Do that, and you’ll probably be there for a while,” he said.
Eddie has been here for 13 years now, opening doors for people as if he were a guest in his home. “Come in now, good to see you… Have a nice day now, take care now…”
He greets people happy and sad to be here. Rich and poor people. People dressed as pirates. “We call him Commodore Smiley,” one said.
Eddie tried to turn this hacker into a Dallas Cowboys fan. Eddie loves his Cowboys and the sport in general and would like to talk about that more than politics. But sometimes people want to talk politics, and he listens. He will also listen to their joys and sorrows.
Just as his mother taught him how to cook the fried chicken he cooks for the cashiers, she taught him the importance of listening. “In fact, she said to me, ‘A friend is worth more than money,'” he says.
He grew up in Alabama, finding this wisdom hard to believe.
He grew up “wanting to fight and beat the world”, he says – crazy that it brought him here, baling hay and digging graves. It was replaced by the Navy, large open waters. He was changed by the death of his mother, which followed that of his father at a young age.
Life, Eddie decided, was too short not to enjoy it.
Yet the world could be mean, the wind relentless.
James has to deal with it again as he gets back in his car – but not without Eddie back at his side.