For part 1 of this story, click HERE.
I put the three large boxes of Danishes and my iced coffee in one hand, and swiped through the turnstile with the other. A relatively empty train pulled in a few seconds later and I was traveling on the 6 down to 23rd street.
When I emerged from the station, I walked west down 23rd street, and looked up at the buildings standing tall around me. I too felt tall, like I was finally a part of the blood that runs through the arteries of this city.
The streets were eerily empty for 8:45 AM. On the south side of 23rd Street I saw a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk ahead of me. He had a sign that read: ANY EXTRA FOOD HELPS.
I walked by him and immediately turned around as I realized I was holding three large boxes of Danishes. My co-workers are awesome, but we have several kitchens full of food in our office.
I could definitely spare something for this guy.
As I approached him, I asked if he wanted any food. In hindsight, it was a dumb question. The man had a sign that said: ANY EXTRA FOOD HELPS.
Could he have been any clearer?
In broken English he said, “Lady. Is that pizza?”
Pizza is something I could eat all day/every day, so I smiled at his question.
I said, “Sorry. It’s just Danishes. Do you still want them?”
He shook his head and said, “Yes please!”
I handed him over one of the boxes, and before I could walk away he had devoured one of the Danishes and had shoved a second one in his mouth.
He said, “Thank you lady”, as Danish crumbs fell to the ground.
I nodded and headed towards the west side.
As I walked past Madison Square Park, it hit me:
It’s easy being selfish. It’s easy being mean. It’s easy being self-righteous. It’s easy to tear others down. It’s easy being closed-minded.
The struggle lies in kindness, accepting others, opening one’s mind, and not letting fear run one’s life.
Lina’s simple kindness to everyone who passed her way, was a great lesson for me at a time when I needed it most.
I think she may have found the secret to a happy and fulfilling life. So I am going to follow her lead and find out.