the kindness of strangers
"YOU!" yelled the man in Port Authority. He literally appeared out of nowhere and pointed his finger at me.
Of Mexican descent, he had a head full of thick black hair and he stood not more than 5 feet 5 inches with a stocky, solid build.
The loudness of the booming voice startled me. I was trying to catch the 6:05pm bus back home to New Jersey after a day at the office. If I didn't at least get to the line by 6pm, the bus might be packed and I would have to wait for the next one - the 6:40pm. Uggh. That would put me home anywhere between 8:30 - 9:00pm. Right now it was already 6:02pm!
My heart thumped. I don't like loud noises or sounds. There is a term for that, I think to myself. Kelly Ripa even admitted to having the disorder... Miso.. Miso..phon.. I can't recall, but literally something inside of me snapped to attention ( I later looked it up: it is called Misophonia). Man, I was annoyed.
Then... something happened. This man looked familiar, but I could not recall how I knew this man.. By now, he bounded up to me, the sheer joy in his sparkling black eyes was unmistakable. He smiled from ear to ear.. I gasped... I did remember him.
It must have been more than 8 years ago, at the train station in New York - Penn Station- I had also been hurriedly rushing to catch my train ( I was commuting by train instead of bus back then) when this same man came into my path, clutching a piece of paper. "New Jersey", he said in very thick accent.
At the time, those 8 long years ago, the last thing I wanted to do was stop for some stranger who was lost and I could barely understand. I wanted to push past him and be on my way. However, weird as it sounds, something shifted inside of me at that exact moment. Instead, I stopped and took the piece of paper into my hands and looked at where he had to go. "Rahway", it was scribbled messily. It was a different train than I was taking, however, I walked over to the screens which displayed which train was boarding at which gate. His train was actually boarding that exact moment- I gestured for him to follow me to the gate and bid him farewell. He could not stop bowing his head and saying "thank you".
I missed my train that day, but inside I remembered feeling so good. I had stopped the rush I was in to help someone who needed it. Now, today 8 years later, this same man is standing in front of me at the bus station. He smiled widely and said , "thank you" and headed off.
Wow, I thought to myself. It was strange and so coincidental. Here was another sign from the Universe telling me, maybe you ought to slow down. Don't rush to catch that bus, take your time, enjoy life, be kind to others.
Here I had helped this man when he was lost, but many times in my life, there have been people - strangers- that have come to my aid for no reason at all, other than to help. This really happened and took place only a week ago. I really wanted to share this story so that I might give a thank you to all the strangers out there that have taken the time to help me when I needed it. I am grateful and this reminds me that the next time I can be of service, I should be kind and helpful to strangers.