I got on the subway this morning to take my daughter to her home-school chemistry class. At the next stop the young woman sitting next to Maggie said to someone I couldn’t see, “You can sit here.” Just as I was thinking, How thoughtful! I spied the white cane of the person who sat down.
Wow. Traveling by mass transit in New York rush hour—blind—now that requires courage!
At the following stop the conductor came into our car. He walked over to the blind woman and asked cheerfully, “You changing trains today, or heading all the way downtown?” The woman smiled and said she was going downtown. My mind reeled as I realized this little miracle happens every day.
I changed trains shortly after that but spent the rest of my ride pondering what I’d seen. This woman will never see the people who help her. She only knows them in passing, and thus will never be able to offer help in return. She had an unusual ability to accept assistance graciously, with a quiet sense of genuine thanks.
I think everyone in the subway car felt thankful as well: for her courage, for her gentle spirit, and for helping us see that even jaded New Yorkers are, in fact, capable of giving without expecting to receive. We don’t have to live our lives selfishly. We have a choice.