Kindness of strangers has an amusing effect _lowres


Riding in a speeding subway some years ago in New York City, I was holding on to the leather strap for dear life.

As the train rushed by rattling the cars and shaking them from side to side like toys, it had become a daunting endeavor for the passengers traveling standing up to maintain our balance.

Suddenly, a young woman in a nearby seat got up, came closer and offered to let me sit down.

Dumbfounded, I, never at a loss for words, stood there speechless. Slowly recovering, I thanked her profusely for her kindness but nevertheless declined her offer to sit down, probably on account of chivalrous pride.

That evening, this episode would not leave my mind as it reminded me of my grandfather’s similar story. He had once confided to his daughter, my mother, that on that particular day, for the first time, he was made to feel old because while riding on the Paris Métro, someone had offered him a seat. Perhaps forgetting that she had already related that story to me before, she would recount it occasionally throughout the years.

Some time later and already retired, I decided to go back to school.

Not quite familiar with the LSU library, I sought advice at the reference desk. To my surprise, the young student-worker left the desk asking me to follow her.

What I expected to be a short trip to a stack around the corner turned out to be a major expedition. I followed her into the elevator, up to the third floor, and, there, I tagged along as she meandered around various aisles, eventually handing me the book with a smile!

And what about the many times, when entering or leaving a building, someone has held the door open for me.

These moments never fail to make me smile.

People probably think that because of my age, I am decrepit and could join the pantheon of the Greek and Roman sages. Little do they know that deep inside, I don’t feel that frail nor wise … just amused!

As time goes by, my own high-mark year seems to approach at an increasingly vertiginous pace, but, numbers aside, I feel as young as I ever was.

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