Generous Orthodoxy  

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A dove alights in Dunkin' Donuts

This is from the "Metropolitan Diary" of The New York Times, a rich weekly source of human material:

Published: March 1, 2009

(The contributor writes: This is a true story; it took place in Sheepshead Bay, a section of downtown Brooklyn, this winter.)

In Dunkin’ Donuts this morning,
an old lady wearing a tattered watch cap
started speaking to no one in particular.
“I can’t sleep at night.
I have pains in my chest all the time.
My leg hurts and my children do not love me.”
People waiting in line
hid in their cellphones, looked away
or stared straight ahead.
“I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know where to turn.
My husband died two years ago on the 27th.”
Everyone pretended she wasn’t there.
The girls behind the counter took the next customers.
The line inched forward.
At a side table, a beautiful young lady with matching purple scarf and hat
looked at the old woman and said, simply,
“Honey, please sit down with me,
and tell me your story.”

It’s possible, you see,
for one person to save the world.

--contributed by Mel Glenn, Brooklyn, NY

(For what it's worth, my bet is that this young woman was African-American. The description of her as a "young lady" and the endearment "Honey" reinforce my impression.Whenever I see an act of kindness in (for instance) the subway , it is very often a black person offering it. I rode the Harlem buses for years when I was a student at Union Seminary, and I still do; I enjoy the neighborly feeling. --FR)