Bad Snap Judgement

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I dropped my wallet in NY Penn Station after the crush of people bumped me around like I was in a pinball machine. I used my ice hockey elbows to keep them at bay and to stop my cane from slipping down the stairs. But, there was so much chaos as I walked towards the train I didn’t notice I’d lost anything. Then, someone began shouting,”Miss.” I looked back, saw my wallet in a man’s hand and I said, “thank you.”

I’m sad to say I was shocked that I got my wallet back because I was standing near a line of homeless people. Tonight on my way home, I saw one of those displaced souls. She recognized me and said, “miss.” I thought she was mocking me until I recognized the voice. She had called out to me not the man.

The woman wanted nothing at all except somethings to read. She walked away and stood quietly browsing through a magazine and then a newspaper. She reaffirmed for me not to “judge a book by its cover.”

#nypennstation #nyc #homeless #disability #invisibleillness #spoonies #autoimmunedisease #chronicillness #chronicpain #dontjudgeabookbyitscover

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Ten Dollar Gratitude Lesson

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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

A Little Christmas Luck

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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!”