I held on to the railing as I used my cane to brace myself as I cautiously proceeded down the staircase leading from the subway to Penn Station. Just as the crowd began to thin out, I could see a line up people barreling up the stairs. I stopped and let go of the railing. The first man clipped me and so did the second. Neither stopped to apologize or even acknowledge their assaults on me.
“Apparently the concept of being a gentleman or even a decent human being went out the window,” I shouted.
When I finally made it to the bottom of the stairs, I decided to pause, take a breath and refill my Metrocard. It was then I encountered a middle-aged white couple who were clearly from out of town. Their bags were unattended a good distance away from them and they had a wad of cash showing. They were also discussing how to use the Metrocard machine.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry. Do we want a Metrocard?” The man asked. “We’re here for three days and don’t know what to do.”
“Yes you do,” I replied as I turned to look at their machine. “You want a Metrocard. You need to buy a new card and select the amount of money to put on it based on how many times you plan travel.”
I talked the couple through the whole process, including how to pay. Then, I told them how to use the turnstiles. I didn’t even care that I was going to miss my train.
“Thank you so much, miss. This city is tough if you’re not from here.”
“No problem,” I replied. “Just enjoy your time here and relax.”
I paid attention to my own advice. I relaxed on my ride home. I didn’t stress what happened at work or two more rejection letters for my latest book. I didn’t think about my master’s application, how to pay for school or $3K bill from my concussion. I was just glad that I paused to help meet someone.
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