My usual weekend haunt was a little fuller than its always-packed self over the holiday weekend, but the food and humor were top-notch, as always. I am ever amazed at the ballet the staff has to perform when every booth and diner stool are full, with patrons standing at the edges. The booths are fortunately deep, which makes our usual party of two an easy place to watch the fray instead of engaging in it. The most unusual part of the entire day was that my wife took the tab up to the register to pay, something that is usually a part of my role in the day.

When she got back to the table with the receipt, I couldn’t stop staring at it. Hard as I try to not add up my groceries on the way to the checkout, or my meal before the tab is paid, I tend to have some pretty OCD habits on the math front. My lovely wife was watching me watching the tab. It must have been riveting.

When she finally asked me what was wrong, I told her that I’d thought we’d been overcharged somehow, as our tab seemed a few dollars high. She told me she’d been the cause of the overage, as she’d chosen to also pick up the breakfast of an elderly gentleman who’d been sitting alone at the counter. When I remarked that his meal had only added a few bucks to the tab, she told me he’d been dining on hash browns, as it was all he could afford.

Just as I felt the lump start to rise in my throat, our newfound friend stopped by our table to express his gratitude. His name is Sig. He used to fix watches for a living. He’s in his 90’s, and may be joining us for breakfast next week. I did not succeed in losing the lump in my throat, but managed to hold it together well enough to let Sig develop a bit of a crush. I need to hide all of this from my 95-year old next door neighbor, who is deeply in love with my wife as well. I’m not sure Sam and Sig would be such big fans of one another.

Living in such a big place and seeing as much as one can in such a big place can easily harden a person. It’s a real gift to live with someone with such a good, beautiful, and decent heart. Someone who knows the power of a few good hash browns. Seeing someone consciously choose to do right by others without the expectation of reward, or even without knowing someone is watching… it’s truly one of the most beautiful things you might ever hope to see. With all of the choices available, she chooses to be good. To be kind. To give, even when what is taken isn’t always received with gratitude. Stunning stuff.

Similarly, high amongst the many reasons I am a fan of this current Denver Nuggets squad, one of the least-mentioned is the common denominator that runs through so many core tenets of the team. A cohesive, dedicated, single-minded group that celebrates the success of the unit over any individual achievement. While those are attributes that could be achieved via other means, much of that stems from the fact that this is simply a good-hearted group of guys who have come to truly care for one another. Guys who choose to do the good thing.

It’s this guy:

And it’s this guy:

And these guys:

And… well, you get the point. I could pile on 50 more videos, and still not scratch the surface. Across the squad, the bench, the coaches, the organization, from the outside looking in, they seem to be filled with high-character individuals who are invested in doing the right thing by each other and their community whether someone is looking or not. As mentioned, a beautiful thing to see. It’s a good reminder for me to keep taking a quick look in the mirror. Remember (and re-remember) who I keep choosing to be.

With a highly-anticipated season nearly here, it’s easy to support a team that is so talented and so well-regarded. It’s amazing to support a fun-having, free-wheeling winner, no doubt. But it’s just as easy to support these Denver Nuggets simply because of who they choose to be.