There’s a new paperboy on my corner after the old one got a better job, who was at least smart enough to wait inside Starbucks for his paper delivery.
This new fella, however, much shyer, stoically stands outside shivering until the truck pulls up barely at a complete stop, before hurling the bundled New York Times and Post onto the curb.
Picture a sniper shooting, with papers.
It’s been so cold, so one can’t help but to notice him out there under dressed, underpaid, just so commuters can grab a pulp rag en route to work.
When I asked Manuel, why he didn’t wear gloves he said, he can’t make change in them.
Despite understanding, it bothered me that the least these commuters could do was provide exact change. The New York Post a buck and a half, the Times $2.50, and it’s the Upper East Side remember, so a tip wouldn’t hurt either.
The next day I saw him, it was freezing. It had dropped to 18 during the night, so at 6 a.m. before dawn, it was frigid out there, but there he was, waiting, jumping from foot to foot trying to stay warm.
I had a pair of old, ratty fingerless gloves under my mittens, so I gave them to him, explaining, his fingers would still be free to handle money.
“Please take them,” I said, when he hesitated, “please!”
A day or so later, he called to me from across the street.
When I went over, with a big smile, he showed me he was indeed wearing the gloves, that somehow now had green threading along each finger.
“Thank you Miss, thank you. I loove them so much.”
On closer examination, I saw he had sewn them where they were torn and frayed, making them his own.
I can’t say how much this affected me, these cheap 3 dollar gloves I bought from a street vendor, now had such worth to this sweet and noble soul.
Put a lump in my throat, for the rest of that early, you could see your breath, morning as the sun brightly came up.