My day ended as it began with a surprising twist. I got to NY Penn Station to catch the 9:35 train and saw a homeless man talking to a young white girl. She gave him change then he turned, looked right at me and headed straight for me. Up close, his hair was messy. He was missing a few teeth and his jacket was dirty but overall it appeared as if he tried to maintain his appearance as best he could. He even could’ve been a handsome man at one time. I looked him in the eyes and he spoke. He asked me for 65 cents.
As I rifled through my purse to get it he saw my engagement ring and said, “He is a lucky man. I wish I was a lucky man.” I smiled awkwardly. Then, as I gave him quarters he said, “You are a lucky woman.” I replied, “Am I?” He said,” you are. You have him, you have a home, you have money and you’ve got some gifts so someone loves you.”
He was right. I was holding an unexpected gift from a co-worker/friend. It was a case of my favorite candy. I had a gift bag with a scarf set from a security guard in our building and her nieces, purchased as a thank you for my help. I was also carrying two bags of candy from a co-worker I’d trained and chocolates my neighbor gave me just to make my day.
I thought about the fact that I was wearing an ugly Christmas sweater purchased with my fiancé and stepson who I love. And, I’d just left a party to honor two co-workers leaving our TV station and our dear friend Mary Lilly who passed away. I’d spent my night in a room filled with tributes, laughter and of course love.
I looked back at him and said, “I am lucky. I’m blessed.” The homeless man said, “I will be too.” I said, “I hope so. Take care of yourself and stay warm.” He replied, “I have a way to stay out of the cold and by Spring I will have a home. I want to be lucky too so I’m going to get myself together. I’ve been on the streets by myself too long. So I’m going to turn my luck around.” I began to limp away. Then, I stopped and said, “I believe you.” He responded with a weepy look on his face, “Thank you! Happy Holidays!”