CHARLOTTE, N.C. Two California delegates and another from Washington State were waiting for the signal to change at Stonewall and Tryon streets on Friday afternoon when they noticed the badge on a Charlotte Observer reporter who was returning to the newsroom.
“Excuse me,” California delegate Rachel Binah said. “Is there someone we can speak to at your paper? I want to thank the people of this city. I am astonished at how caring, kind and helpful the people of this city are. Every single person I came in contact with was extraordinarily kind.”
“And thank you for being gracious,” said fellow California delegate Helen Sizemore.
“They went out of their way to help us,” said Washington State delegate Lona Wilbur.
The trio said every last person they encountered was polite and eager to help during their stay – hotel staff, shuttle drivers, police, the wait staff at a local Waffle House, conductors and riders on the Lynx rail line, and people on the street.
During a downpour this week, Wilbur dashed to an already crammed bus shelter, and everyone squeezed in a little tighter to make room.
On a packed Lynx train, a man raised his arm so she could wedge in a little better.
On her first day in the city, Binah was startled by the newsman on TV who urged Charlotteans to be aware of lost drivers and walkers and to help them out.
“Nobody says no,” Sizemore said.
“It’s the city that says yes,” Binah said before the women continued their walk to visit the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.