Friday, June 29, 2007

Small Kindnesses

This morning I needed to drop off 3 pairs of shoes at the cobbler in Grand Central to have them fixed up, you know, replace the heels and shine them up a bit.
So basically the cobbler is along one of the side entrances through one of the tunnels to the train station. You walk in and go down a set of stairs and the cobbler is down the tunnel a bit. I walk in and see that there is a large pool of water at the bottom. Well, as yellow as it is it might be urine, but nonetheless, it is a nasty liquidy substance all over the floor. I look down at my flip-flopped feet and stop at the top of the steps wondering if I can somehow make it through the nastiness, maybe sneak along the 4 inches along the wall that is dry? You know, like the time I considered jumping down into the subway tracks to retrieve my dropped lip gloss? I have one of my rare moments of sanity and sense and decide it's probably not a good idea, and I'll just come back later when it's cleaned up.

At that very moment of my decision-making a man walks through the water (he has on boots) and up the stairs and sees me standing there assessing the situation. He says, "Oh no, you don't want to go down there, huh uh, you'll get that all over your feet." Yes, thank you, Captain Obvious. So as I'm turning to walk away he says, "Where you trying to go?" I inform him of my destination and he says, "Ohohoh, let me take care of it. I'll take your shoes. I know Yuri, I got it, I'm on it." I politely protest while inwardly rejoice, because of course I can't just say yes the first time. Maybe he was just being polite, you know, like when someone offers you half of their sandwich but they don't really expect that you'll actually say yes? But he insisted, so I happily accept.

Ok, so my shoes are in my purse, and I also have another bag from the drug store in my other hand. THREE pairs of shoes I try to get out of my bag and hand to this guy, who also has a cup of coffee in his hands. Then we decide that my drugstore bag would be a better way to handle this, so I take everything out of it, put it in my purse, and put the shoes in the plastic bag. All the while the man insisting that this is no trouble, he's happy to help, and me all the while thinking I'm being a huge inconvenience to this dude first thing in the morning (ok, so it was 10am). Then he asks for a business card so Yuri can give me a call when the shoes are finished. Perfect, I'll just wait here right on the steps while you schlep through the urine-water for a complete stranger to give her shoes to Yuri the cobbler. Two minutes later they both peek out of the store and wave, Yuri saying he'll call me. No big deal.

So you know what, for all those people who says New Yorkers can't be bothered to help other people and are totally self-involved, well, maybe they're somewhat mistaken. Thank you stranger man who walked through urine-water to take my shoes to the cobbler, you made my morning.

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