I’m coming from the subway in Grand Central, when I see a young mother with a one-year old in a stroller. I watch her examine the stairs knowing, she’ll have a hard time maneuvering everything on her own. I look to see if any men stop to help, but none do.
A man of color in a wheelchair, positioned in a corner, is watching too. He’s huge, like a Linebacker, very well kept, missing a leg.
Meanwhile, it’s Easter Sunday so Grand Central is packed with commuters and yet, no one still thinks to stop.
I say to the mom, can I help in any way? She smiles, says no, placing her daughter down as she capably collapses the stroller.
I stand by this little Asian doll who looks at me as if to say, I’ve seen this all before.
So me and the man of color, watch them stoically disappear down the busy stairwell.
I look his way, sighing heavily.
“I can’t believe no man stopped to carry that stroller for her. I would have at least tried, if she had let me. I’ve learned though, in my helpful travels, to ask first.”
He says, “Yeah, I see this a lot. People just are too much in a hurry these days to lend a hand, on the other end, it’s also hard to accept one.” It was then I saw he had a cup discreetly attached to the arm of his wheelchair.
“I rarely carry cash,” I say, “but do have a bunch’a quarters. Would that help?”
He laughs. “Come to think of it, it would, because I need to do laundry.”
Don’t ask me why this popped out of my mouth, but I say, “You know what I know without a doubt? If you were able, you would have helped that young mom.”
He looks at me like the man I instinctively know he is and says, “I would have helped her in a minute. You are so right.”
After an awkward silence I say, “I’m Susannah.”
“Lorenzo,” he answers.
“Happy Easter Lorenzo, it was really nice meeting you.”
“Likewise, and thanks for stopping to talk to me.”
It was then I realized he was a Vietnam Vet, something else he was discreet about.
Hankies all around.