Early morning, as the sun was coming up, I ventured out on the street to meet a friend for breakfast. I was particularly vigilant about my surroundings as so few people were out and about that early on a Sunday.
Two policemen were slowly walking down the street ahead of me, which I found reassuring, and I fell in step behind them. Then one of them stepped into Dunkin' but he very quickly re-emerged on the street, holding a small white bag, presumably with donuts.
How cliche', I thought, cops and donuts!
Near the entrance to Dunkin', a man with unkempt hair was sitting in a beat-up wheelchair, wearing a dirty tee shirt and shorts. He had one leg elevated but both feet were uncovered, exposing thick callouses or some condition that turned his skin an unnatural, pasty color.
The cop with the bag walked over to the man in the wheelchair and handed it to him. The man lit up as if it were the best day of his life. I couldn't make out what the man said to the cop but the cop simply nodded to him and then he fell into stride with his partner as they continued walking down the street.
I passed the man in the wheelchair as he was looking into the bag, his whole body shaking with joy. I wanted to join him in some way, become more a part of this story, but it was his moment and so I walked on silently to the subway entrance.
There were few people on the platform and I entered a car with no more than half a dozen people traveling, all looking down at their phones or dozing. For the entire trip, I could only think of what I had just witnessed. It was such a small act of kindness, basically invisible to the city at large.
One human being making a small, kind gesture to another turned out to be the best part of my day. And surely the few of us who witnessed or participated in this moment moved on with our lives, knowing something good had happened that morning.