Remember Mr. Gibbs--the tall Black man always
dressed in an overcoat and hat? You know--the NLS
doorman whose job it was to keep folks out of a
place today hinged with steel doors keeping them inside.

I got to know Mr. Gibbs' quiet strength and generous
character in the early 1970s while walking near
Lake Merritt in Oakland. At the time I was a struggling
junior college pothead.

Mr. Gibbs spotted me first. He was in leisure clothes,
a broad-rimmed hat, and with a gentle smile. Happily
retired in California, he was living with a son and

Following our mutual surprise, Mr. Gibbs and I sought
a lakeside bench to talk. I recall his encouragement,
warmth and kindness.

Listening to him told me that I could walk right past
someone every day for years-on-end, and never really
glimpse his soul. As an unaware young creature of
the marketplace, I was particularly blind. On that park
bench, Mr. Gibbs taught me that truth could be found
in the most avoided of places. Hallelujah!

- Stephen Boyd