Saye Gatei looks for silver linings.
“In every bad thing, there is good,” he says. “The only thing people need to do, really, is to look carefully.”
He’s standing at a bus stop on Mountain View Drive, waiting for his ride, heading down to the Brother Francis Shelter to look for a friend. He’s lived in this neighborhood on and off for years. His profile is part of the iconic “52 Faces of Mountain View” sculpture on the corner down the street.
A lot has happened since his likeness was cast into fiberglass six years ago, he says. Roadblocks and delayed dreams.
He tells a story about how he recently became lost while driving the Anchorage Hillside; how nobody came to his aid. Days later, it weighed on his mind.
“My experience there showed that actually there is acute discrimination, because nobody could talk to me, even though people were in their houses,” he says. “I went and knocked on this door in an effort to get somebody to give me directions — they’re sitting there in their house, looking at me, but nobody could come outside to talk to me.”
There is bad in the world, he says. One silver lining? A deep appreciation for the good.
“In Mountain View, if you went anywhere, you would find people to want to help you, no matter what kind of people you run into,” he says. “Not everything about this area is bad.”
His bus comes around the corner; stops at the curb; opens its doors. Gatei turns to board, but the doors start to close. He knocks on the windows, but the bus driver ignores him. Gatei watches the bus pull away.
He chooses not to be angry, he says. He thinks about the bus driver’s day. He thinks about the things that would prompt a driver to leave a passenger behind. Gatei chooses to forgive.
“There is good in everything,” he says. “The Bible says, ‘Seek and ye shall find.’”
He decides to seek the silver lining. The next bus comes in just 20 minutes, and it’s sunny outside anyway.