About 7 years ago, Al Nixon, 58, needed to clear his mind because of troubles at work. He started watching the sunrise at the waterfront in Vinoy Park, Florida.
Since then, he has been sitting on the same bench between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. pretty much every day. When locals started telling him their stories, they felt better. "I know, when I see you sitting there, everything is going to be alright," said one woman.
At first, he came to the bench three to four days a week. Then he started coming every morning, 365 days a year. In time, people began greeting him and stopping by for a chat. Some shared their stories, others just sat next to him, saying nothing.
Last fall, Al didn’t show up on the bench for a few days as he was out of town. That is when someone placed a small metal plate on his bench with an engraving that says: “AL. A LOVING AND LOYAL FRIEND AND CONFIDANT TO MANY. FOREVER AND ALWAYS”.
“It’s a wonderful thing to make a person know they are appreciated like that, while they’re still alive,” Al commented, adding that he feels blessed.