I was rushing to catch the light rail home after working on Labor Day when I decided to buy a corn muffin. I figured I deserved a treat. I brought my lunch, ate fruit for dessert instead of a mountain of candy and I competed more parade stories than I care to remember. I was tired but focused on the things I have yet to do when a man approached me.
“Miss, can you please buy me a cup of coffee?”
His manners struck me because no one else on the way home seemed to have any. Families blocked the stairs at NY Penn and didn’t move when people walked up. The handicapped section on the train was taking so I had to search for a seat. People pushed on the stairs to catch a train on track five at Newark Penn Station. And, I had to give the side eye to a lady who pushed into me as I got to the exit door.
I turned around and a man, maybe my parents age was next to me. He too had a cane.
“Sure, I can do that.”
When I ordered my muffin, he said, “that sounds good.”
So, I asked, “are you hungry?”
“Yes, I am. I’m tired of being homeless and begging but I’m so hungry.”
“I’m sorry things are so hard.”
“I can’t work because I’m too weak.”
I thought, I’ve felt that way myself.
“Well, tonight let me get you something to eat.”
I happily spent the last ten dollars in my wallet. I was grateful I had it to spend. I don’t have much but I’m grateful for what I do have: a job, a home and food to eat. None of it may be perfect but I’m doing okay.
#autoimmunedisease #invisibleillness #chronicillness #chronicpain #homeless #nyc #newarkpennstation #gratitude