Consider Wade Horne a one-man messenger of positivity.
He’s an unlikely one at that, or at least an unexpected one.
For a few hours this week, he stood at the corner of Hargett and South Salisbury streets holding a sign.
“Love Thy Neighbor,” it said in blue letters, large enough to read from across the street.
Drivers honked as they drove by.
“I like your sign,” one woman shouted from her window as she waited for the light to change green.
Horne seemed surprised himself when he explained why he decided rather spontaneously Wednesday morning – one of his days off from work as a baggage handler at Raleigh-Durham International Airport – to make the sign and head outside to see what reaction he might get.
“I just felt like doing it, as strange as that sounds,” said Horne, 35. “You gotta throw some positivity out there.”
He’s been feeling sad about the election, he said, and he confesses that bitterness remains. But he also realizes that to have a productive conversation about solutions, for people to come together after such a contentious election cycle, it’s imperative to be positive. He’s tired of the back-and-forth messages that pit people with differing opinions against each other.
“You can’t have a dialogue if everybody is at each other’s throats,” he said. “You need to realize that we can’t build anything without coming together first, and then we can have a discourse.”
On Wednesday, heading downtown on an unseasonably warm January day seemed like the right thing to do.
“This is my way of coping with it,” he said, referring to his lingering negative feelings.
But he said people need to know that others care for them, and that they’re not trying to put each other down.
After being outside for just an hour or so, he already felt like he was making a difference. He figured he’d stick around his corner until his parking meter ran out.
People “actually have a lot of common ground,” he said. “They just have different viewpoints.”
Jessica Banov: 919-829-4831; @jessicabanov