There’s a kid I see most mornings who sells newspapers outside by the subway. He’s there early to meet the truck, the driver tossing them on the sidewalk like a bale of hay.
He’ll come into Starbucks at 5 to wait, while I sit sipping my coffee. 21 if he’s a day, quiet, polite, never asking for a thing. I’ve tried to treat him more than once, but he always says, no thank you, I’m fine, never wearing gloves even on the coldest day, vigilantly selling those papers wrapped in a hoodie and a tattered gray parka.
Today, I watch as Kim, the tiny Latino barrista who is oh so cheerful at this time, brings this young man a bag where he’s sitting.
Well, the smile on his face breaks all records. Remember when you were little and made pictures of the sun? It always had a huge smile on it…this is what I think of, watching, as he opens the bag bringing out a tall, hot drink with a slice of lemon pound cake.
I’m covert observing, not wanting to embarrass either of them, and for me it was an omen, because I had just had a self-punishing moment berating myself for the random little things I do for others.
No one cares, I decided tearfully. Stop playing saint…do everyone, especially you, a favor.
But when I look at this self-possessed lad all aglow because someone he clearly likes thought of him, I see, little things do make a difference….and could very well, quietly, change the world.