El gardien.

Meet one of my local heroes.

Let me give you some perspective.

He is a parking assistant, as we call them in Morocco, el gardien.

He spends all day helping people park at one of the busiest bakeries in town.

His job is to keep a lookout for traffic, tell you when to turn the steering wheel… left… right… now all the way around.  Although he himself cannot drive, he can coach you through the arduous task of parallel parking.

He also keeps your car safe, from petty vandalism I suppose, while you are loading up on petit pains and baguettes at the bakery.

He works the street up and down all day, receiving 2 dirhams (25 cents) per car.  Which is something, except that he has to pay the city “rent” for guarding that street.

I’ve never seen him without a huge smile on his face (except for when he solemnly posed for this photo).  Everything he says is punctuated with ecstatic prayers.

God help you!  Go in God’s hands! he says to me as I hand him 2 dirhams.

Every time I see him, I am grateful for my good health and sound body.  I hope to one day have grace and utter contentment, like him.

He could have been a beggar, no questions asked.  But instead he’s chosen a lively profession; instead of being burden, he lives a life of service.  I so admire him for that.

What is it like to go from having two legs to having just one?

One day I will ask him to tell me his story.