When Humility Pays a Call

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.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in grace, humanity, nature, New York City, Starbucks, Women and men and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to When Humility Pays a Call

  1. gmg says:

    Love, love the beauty of your writing, Susannah. This one made me cry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope he took his coffee. Maybe he has a home but likes to spend time outside to see people? I like to make nice stories in my head in case the real one is too sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have no idea what wars all others fight in their mind. Not a quote, but words worth remembering.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia says:

    This was sad but not depressing. Three people met where they are in life and shared their dignity and humanity. This should be celebrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. micklively says:

    I wonder about the mores. We don’t need a disability pecking order: it isn’t a competition. If someone’s disability is worse than mine, it doesn’t make mine any better (nor vice versa, for that matter). Who knows what “worse” means? There are folk who are tortured every day of their lives, who show no visible sign of anything awry, and there are legless Olympic athletes. No-one can ever really know what it is to be me, nor I them. Sure, we share a language but we don’t share a meaning datum. How could we?
    We share a lump of rock that is falling around the sun. There is nowhere else to go. We could just get along. We don’t need labels.


  6. This hits home today, thanks for giving humility the spotlight we all need to see.

    Liked by 1 person

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