On a recent day, I rode the Blue Line to work, catching the first train in three years and the first of two planned to leave at 6:45 p.m.
That evening, I caught the Blue line to a crowded restaurant in Chinatown, where it took more than an hour for the restaurant’s chef to prepare a meal and the train to arrive.
As I stood on the platform, a man in a baseball cap came up to me, asking if I was the manager of the restaurant.
The man then asked me, “Have you heard anything about the Blue?,” and as I asked why, he laughed and replied, “No.”
I have, and have heard nothing.
My story, I said, and I don’t know how many more stories like it I’ll hear, will tell a story about the way we live.
The story I told was about the people of San Francisco.
I told it in a way that made it clear to me how important it was to not just know, but to care.
I told it with the knowledge that I had the power to change the lives of others.
I said it in such a way so that I would not be judged or dismissed as ignorant.
On my last day in the city, I went to the office of Mayor Ed Lee, and as soon as I stepped on the elevator, the doors opened.
At the top of the stairs, I found the mayor standing in front of a large, shiny gold sign that read, “San Francisco.”
I stood there for a moment, amazed, as I felt something inside me.
It was my inner-city pride.
The mayor looked up and smiled at me.
“Hello, mayor,” he said.
“It’s good to meet you.”
I nodded and smiled back, thinking that he was kidding.
We spoke for an hour and a half, and after that, I did not see him again.
This was the first time I had ever seen a mayor with a smile on his face.
It felt like something that belonged to him.
A few days later, I boarded a train from San Francisco to the West Coast, where I spent the day in Los Angeles, visiting a church.
Before we left, I asked my mother-in-law, “Why are you so angry?”
She replied, simply, “Because we didn’t do enough.”
It took about two weeks of traveling and getting on and off the train and subway, but I learned that what I have done is more than just the right thing to do.
I learned what I had been missing from my family and from my community.
And I learned how important community is.
San Francisco is my city, and that’s not something I’m going to forget anytime soon.
Follow me on Twitter: @Kathy_McKenzie_