Morning subway commutes are hellish in NYC. By the time I get to work, I am ready to head home. My only salvation is when I arrive at the roach coach on 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue before I head into work. It’s the one with silly decals, and a sweet Muslim woman dishing out run of the mill pastries and tasty coffee. It’s the one constant in my ever chaotic work day.
Every morning she says, “good morning sweetheart”, and without asking she pours a small cup of black coffee and talks to me about the weather, or how my weekend was. If it’s a Friday she always says, “Thank God it’s the weekend, right sweetheart?”. Every day I pay her a dollar for the coffee and say, “see you tomorrow.” She responds, “see you tomorrow sweetie!”
I don’t know her name, but she’s short, plump, and has the warmest face I have ever seen. Her face would put the sweetest old woman to shame. I know her husband owns the cart across the street, and she is renting hers. She hates the way the cart is decorated, and despises the cold.
One morning I walked up to the cart and she said, “I was just thinking about you, and now, here you are!” It made me feel all warm and gushy inside. That morning sealed the deal. I have vowed as long as she is there, and as long as I work on Park Ave, I will never cheat on my coffee cart woman.
It all seems so ridiculous, but when I pass thousands of strangers every day, a bit of kindness and familiarity can really make a difference. It makes me feel like I am not just one of 8 million people, but one in a million.