Don’t think there aren’t days when I try to do a solid for someone and I’m absolutely thrilled when they say no. Today on the subway it was pretty hot, and the man next to me rolled a little stroller with his son in it onto the platform and bent down to pick it up and climb the stairs. I asked if he needed a hand. What came over me? This guy was 20 years younger than me if a day. “Nah,” he says, “thanks anyway, but carting this little guy around is the only exercise I get.” Thank God — maybe he knew what I didn’t: it turned out to be five flights up.
One thing the One Good Deed project has taught me is to keep my eyes open a little more in a way I hadn’t before. And as I went through the day today, I saw other folks doing nice things: a young guy popping off his high stool at Starbucks to help a tiny older woman with packages climb up next to him. Joining my friend Joe in needling the barista about why the tip jar has a lock, and making her laugh. Watching a girl help an old man get on the bus, while he yelled at her the whole time. The subway conductor (not the one who drives, thankfully) coming out of his locked compartment — twice — to help someone with directions.
For some reason it all reminded me of that old song Sinatra sings, Chicago. There’s a line in it that goes, “I saw a man who danced with his wife,” as if that were an impossible sight. And that’s what this day was like. I found myself thinking, Shame on you: why are you so surprised?
Love is all around.