I made my way back to NYC the other day. I had this brilliant idea to commute during rush hour. Let’s just be clear that’s all the way from Poughkeepsie, NY to Park Slope, Brooklyn at peak time!
I make it to the Metro North train leaving Poughkeepsie with literally a minute to spare because no matter how many times I make this commute it always has to come down to the wire. I guess I like the trill. I get on the train and it’s a smooth ride, no issues there. I wasn’t happy about the 24 dollars I paid but that’s another issue entirely.
As we near Grand Central, I contemplate taking a cab. I have a small suitcase and two bags, again it’s rush hour, just finding space to move is a challenge.
I decide that I’m going to take the subway home because I have an unlimited metro card and I’m suppose to be doing better at “saving.” Once I convince myself of this, I put on my commuter face; you know the stank face, no care attitude, every New Yorker has one.
I get to the the turnstile and with all my bags. Every time I try to go through someone comes out. I mean like a line of people, as if I don’t exist. They don’t mean anything by it, I’m sure. They’re probably late for work and I stand in between them and their boss.
I finally get down to the 4 train and the platform is full of people. I squeeze through being as careful as I can with my suitcase. But I’m sure I got a few toes. I inch my way to the edge of the platform. As I mentioned in the last subway chronicles, I’m a rebel so I ignore the MTA yellow warning line.
As I try to make it on, people cut in front of me even though they see me clearly struggling. That sets my mood for the entire ride, I’m pissed.
But then I met him. A guy, maybe in his late twenties, who on a crowed subway car made it a point to talk to anyone who even glanced his way. As we got closer to Brooklyn the train emptied out a bit. We sat across from each other and he told me about his life. He told that when he’s on the train, it’s his mission to make someone smile. He did that for me and so many people on that commute, remarkable.
We partied ways when I got to my stop but it changed my entire attitude. When I made it out the subway station, I noticed a woman struggling to figure out where she was. She didn’t ask me for directions but I offered.
I walked her pretty close to her destination because we were going the same way. I would like to think that I would have helped her anyway, but they often say smiles are infectious. The kind words I heard during my ride changed my attitude and provided me with the opportunity to help someone in need.
She was so grateful, her phone didn’t have data and she couldn’t remember the phone number of the location. It took maybe five minutes out of my day but it meant the world to her.
I think we forget the impact we can make on a daily basis. It may be small but we have to be willing to help each other. As they say, spread the love.
A Woman in Process