“…And, I lost it. I broke into big, fat, silent, hopeless tears. There was no sound, just pain enveloping my face and dense petals of teardrops sopping onto the man’s lap sitting in front of me. He was dressed in blue from head to toe; a heavy beat blasting through his earphones. I saw him shift a bit and look up towards me. His big brown eyes looked concerned, as if he was beginning to feel what I was feeling; as if it hurt him to see me this way. I wiped my cheek with my shoulder and tried to hold my breath to keep from feeling anything, but despite my best efforts, I was crumbling into myself like a little girl told to stop crying.
“I saw him move about to get something out of his pocket: a big wad of brown paper napkins. Peeling one out, he handed it to me and nodded his head to go on and take it. Of course, his action, with all its simple thoughtfulness was so beautiful it only made me weep more. “How kind,” I thought. “Where has he been tonight? Where is he going? I wonder what his struggles are like…” He reached into his pocket again, this time pulling out a pen. When he was done writing, he stood up and gestured to his seat for me to sit, holding out the wad of napkins. I was hesitant to take it at first, but with no words he insisted I accept them. So, I did. He smiled reassuringly, turned his back and walked through the sliding doors.
“Some people believe in angels or guardians or signs from things or people outside of ourselves to awaken something dormant within us, to remind us of something, to lead us somewhere, or to someone. Perhaps, he was an angel… or maybe, he was just a NYC stranger who can still allow himself to feel and be felt. All I know is, I will keep this note with me forever, I will pass it along throughout my life and I will look at his words to remind me that everything will be OK, that doubts and fears are normal but are not useful, that compassion is king and that empathy, and random acts of kindness still exist.”