I’m in Starbucks when the guy with no legs rolls in, in his dilapidated wheelchair. He’s been off the street for a while, thank God, but now is back.
I think someone comes, every now and then, to clean him up, see that he’s not suffering from anything contagious, before he finds his way back to his perch in the entrance of the 86th Street subway.
I wince whenever I see him, crumpled in his chair like a folded ironing board you’d shove in the closet. He never asks for anything, but will gladly accept anything you give him.
Alas, pride still in residence, from his thighs up.
He waits in line before buying his own coffee, and despite being limbless, looks rather clean and pressed in chinos, a hoodie and a Yankee parka.
Moments later, I look up, and he’s staring at me by the milk, that turns out, he can’t reach. Let me say, what a beautiful face he has, like a shiny, black Labrador with eyes that haunt.
So I get the milk, offering to pour it. “No,” he says, “but thank you,” those eyes burning holes in my awakened heart.
I start to leave, then turn back and say, “Ya know, I too have a problem that isn’t as obvious as yours, but please know, you’re not alone in your suffering.”
Then another woman comes up and says, “I only see in one eye that’s only half good. Many times I get lost because I just can’t make out the street sign.”
I watch the man without legs listen, hands in his lap, his coffee still on the counter.
I turn right, the sightless lady left, and he, with quiet dignity, rolls himself out the front door.
Humility, unlike grace who needs to be summoned, shows up unannounced, before blowing the doors off the place.