#144 Stranger-to-stranger high fives

My friend Chad doesn’t run.

Sure, he does a lot of things well, like teach, be a great friend, and write a blog, but the man doesn’t run, doesn’t enjoy running, and doesn’t think about running. Nope, he’s no bib-wearing, calf-stretching, fancy-shoe-buying runner, and you know what? He’s cool with that.

That’s why I was surprised when Chad told me recently that he and his wife Kristen were visiting her brother in Florida when they decided to go for a run. “Go for a run?,” I asked. “Go for a run,” he said, eyebrows popped up and nodding, like he hardly believed it himself. But he’s also a man who says yes a lot so he decided to throw caution into the wind and just go with the flow.

Chad told me it was his first time running outside with other people. He wasn’t sure how to pace himself so he suddenly raced to the front of their three-person pack. Sun was beaming down on him, wind was blowing in his face, and another runner was racing up to him coming the other way.

Since Chad wasn’t familiar with Running Protocol he let instinct take over and put his hand up for a high five as he approached the other runner. The other guy got a huge smile on his face and gave a loud, cracking high five back, before high fiving Chad’s wife and brother-in-law, too.

And it was a beautiful moment.

Because there’s something special about the stranger-to-stranger high five.

Whether it’s screaming fans outside the stadium after a big comeback win, a smiling stranger high-fiving a smiling baby on the subway, or a group of cyclists at the finish line of a long charity ride, it’s always great when emotions bubble up and insecurities fade away in favor of enjoying a cracking high five moment and living for the day.


Photos from: here, here, and here

41 thoughts on “#144 Stranger-to-stranger high fives

  1. Love it when you calmly walk past a person just as you say something awesome with a friend, and instead of high-fiving said friend…. You turn and put your hand up to the stranger. ;)

    So long as they don’t leave you hanging.

    1. And so sorry to repeat myself from Friday’s post (and to once again shamelessly use Neil’s awesomeness for my own uses) but I’m hoping to recruit some more awesome-followers to vote for my niece in the Little Masterpiece Studio’s Most Popular Baby Competition!

      If you have a Facebook Account, please click on the link and simply click “LIKE” beneath her photo.


      The Karma Gods will thank you, and so will I. :D

  2. I just started my blog today, and my first post is about a few of my favorite things. Having a meaningful conversation with a stranger is one of the things I listed. This is the same concept. There’s something special about making a positive connection with someone you don’t even know. We should all make an effort to spread a little more love!

  3. i can so relate to running and feeling good when greeting other runners. a nod and a wave is great but a high-five is awesome, indeed.

    love reading your posts. your blog has inspired me to start my own (isntthatawesome.blogspot.com). thanks for the inspiration.

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever high fived a stranger before. Love the story though, it made me laugh.
    I do like to high five in weird situations or uncommon places. My best friends wedding, I high fived a lot of people instead of hugging them or shaking their hands…. that’s just one on a list of many.

    1. **Puts hand up in the air**
      ** ready for a high five**
      **Random High Five** ** CLAP**

      now you have! :) – as long as you don’t leave me hanging that is!

  5. That’s an awesome Chad story! I hope they all celebrated with some chocolate milk on tap afterwards!

  6. Way to build “emotions bubbling” up to and including the “wasn’t familiar with running protocal”… (great chuckle)… because if there’s one thing we have learned from your friend Chad, “make my day” SMILES and a “Stranger to stranger high five,” would be the “step in time” norm!
    Now, my inquiring mind wants to know, will Chad ever run outside again?
    I suspect if asked by family, friend or high-fiving stanger, his answer will be, “Yes!” :)

  7. Now, this wasn’t exactly a high five that I witnessed but I have an awesome memory of something similar that I once witnessed. The scene, a very, very crowded sidewalk during a neighborhood street fair. The crowd was so thick that it reached one of those impasses where you just have to stand still for a minute and wait for things to get moving again.

    Next to me, a mother was pushing a little girl in a stroller. Coming towards us was another little girl in another stroller and when everything froze up, the strollers were next to each other with the children facing one another.

    Very solemnly, they reached out and held hands. It was a sort of a stoic, “we shall overcome” kind of moment and the mothers and everyone else who was nearby all kind of sighed from how adorable it was.

    Things eased up, the mothers bid one another good day and we all went our separate ways but I’ve always remembered this.

    1. I love how kids do these things without the fearing rejection or looking awkward or anything else that gets in the way of adults more frequently acting on their awesome impulses.

  8. Maybe this can be the new runner thing. Have you seen when motorcyclists drive past each other…. they always wave. Maybe when runners pass each other they should always holler out “up top” and give a high five or something… I think your friend Chad has a good thing here!

  9. High fives are universal awesome moments, especially when our Lutheran Pastor held his hand over my son’s head during communion to say a prayer over him and my toddler reaches up and slaps his hand in a high five. We had so many smiles and giggles at the altar that day, what a blessing!

  10. “Well…….who are the people in your neighborhood…?
    they’re the people that you meet, like Chad Upton smiling and high fiving strangers in the street, they’re the people we should meet each day!”

  11. SIMONE!!
    Oh, I’ll never leave ya hangin’
    **hand in the air**

    My computer isn’t displaying the post comment box when I click to reply to someone again.

  12. I think it’s most common now to not trust others and to “do you” so I love any stranger-to-stranger kindness or sharing a random funny moment.

  13. I cheered on the twin cities marathon on Sunday and high fives a few random runners. And it was awesome!

  14. When I was about 13 at the train station after school, I saw a kid get on the train, jam the door open with his foot, then, after the train gathered a little bit of momentum, high five someone standing further down the platform. The guy on the platform got a bit of a grilling afterwards from the station staff, but I’m sure it was worth it. I’ve never seen anything more awesome.

  15. I’ve never high-five’d more strangers than the night Obama got elected. I mean, running through a crowd, both hands out, getting slaps on both sides like you’re on a sports team high fives. It was AWESOME!

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