As I stepped on the train yesterday morning, the car was nearly empty. There was a striking woman in a dove gray dress–clearly new–sitting in the middle of the train and two empty seats next to her. As is polite subway etiquette, when possible, I left an empty seat between us, and sat down.
By the time we got to the next express stop, the train was filling up, and a man sat between us. He had a bag and a cup of coffee. He started fidgeting with his earbuds to get into “commuter mode”–coffee, music, in transit. Well, things weren’t going so well, the cord from his earphones got tangled around the cup, and before we left the station, the cup became unbalanced, fell out of his grip the lid disengaged and spilled all over the dove gray dress.
The lovely woman jumped up, coffee all over her. Of course the gentleman started apologizing profusely, the woman was visibly upset, and everyone in the train sensing this could be managed with kindness and some communal care started handing her napkins and tissues, bottles of water. I didn’t have either, but I reached into my bag, what did I have? A Tide To Go stick! Score! I let her keep it.
She started to calm down even as she talked about it being a new dress. About how she was going to have to go to work with coffee all over her… And as she talked more and was cared for she started to smile and then laugh a little.
The train was going to empty at Times Square. As we were about to all get off, the gentleman with the coffee handed the lady a piece of paper and said I’d like to pay to clean or replace your dress. She smiled and thanked him as she walked off the train.
Random acts of kindness always get to me, but when they happen under situations and in circumstances that one would least expect–morning rush hour, a hot, cramped subway–it restores my faith, well, in everything.
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