“Can anybody spare some money to buy me some food?”
I heard her voice as we rushed along the streets of the Upper West Side on our way to dinner but I didn’t see her face. It was dark and there were so many people.
However, our son zeroed in on her like a laser beam and he stopped walking immediately. “We need to buy that woman a meal.”
She was an older black woman with her arm in a sling. Her face was deeply lined and worn but her eyes were hopeful.
A quick look up and down the street revealed a Blimpie’s on the next corner. We hurried inside. My husband ordered their largest sub, our son grabbed a water bottle and we headed back in her direction.
She had moved inside a Dunkin Donuts shop. Her arms rested on the counter that looked out onto the bustling street where people from all walks of life were in the midst of their own pursuits, completely oblivious to her need.
Josh walked purposefully inside, gave the woman a big smile, handed her the food and said, “God bless you.”
Enormous surprise registered on her face. Her eyes widened as she accepted his gift. Those same eyes then filled with tears and a smile spread across her face, softening all the harsh lines.
“God bless YOU!” she whispered as she reached up to give him a hug. She patted his face before he turned to go and stared after him as we resumed our walk to dinner.
“You know what I’m going to do?”
We all looked at Josh expectantly.
“If I decide to come here for college, I am going to pick a day, make a bunch of sandwiches, add a water bottle, pack them up, and just hand them out to whoever looks hungry.”
A lump formed in my throat, threatening to spill over into tears.
I was already highly emotional, as we were in New York City to tour colleges for Josh, who will be a senior in high school in the fall. It just seemed inconceivable to me that we were already at this point. Hadn’t we just brought him home from the hospital yesterday…a 10 pound bundle of red-headed joy?
And now he is a young man on the cusp of a promising future, ready to take on the world.
I am very proud of his many accomplishments but nothing makes me prouder than his tender heart for the underdog.
By the end of our time in the city, it was clear that NYU was his first choice for college.
If those doors do open for him, I will take joy in knowing that the streets of New York City will be just a tad kinder because our son will make his mark, one hungry person at a time.