Best Story of the Week…February 25th

5:45 A.M.

I’m heading towards the Park when I see a newspaper delivery man I bump into most mornings.

“Good morning,” I said, same as every day, and same as every day, he doesn’t respond.

So me, being a little on edge say, “Wouldn’t it be nicer to start your day with a bit more cheer? Must you be so rude?”

He ignores me, getting back into his van.

A doorman who witnesses the exchange, or lack of, said, “Just so you know, he’s mute. He doesn’t talk at all.”

Wow, did that stop me in my tracks, no pun intended.

“I had no idea,” I said, “no wonder he never answers me.”

“All we know is, he shows up every day, rain or shine,” said the doorman, “and another delivery guy said it happened when he was a kid, if I remember right, in Somalia, hurt by a family member that did somethin’ to his vocal cords.”

Being someone who knows all about abuse and having a disability, starts to cry.

“Sorry Miss (he called me Miss, vanity never far), didn’t mean to upset ya.”

“No, it’s okay,” I said, properly ashamed, “but I just learned a lesson I hope to get this time.”

“What lesson is that, if ya don’t mind tellin’ me?”

“That we truly, though we smugly think so, don’t really know anything.”

I accept the paper towel he hands me to blow my now, unmasked nose, no longer out of joint, just red and humbled.


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 Thanks.
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51 Responses to Best Story of the Week…February 25th

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    This is a very humbling piece, Susannah. I think you should find out how to say Good Morning in sign language. My oldest daughter is completing her master’s program for occupational therapy. She plans on learning sign language. It’d be great if they offered it in school, along with French and Spanish.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. robprice59 says:

    They say “don’t judge a man ’til you’ve walked a mile in his shoes”. But I’m sure I would have made the same mistake as you. My toes are curling at the thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a chronic cheerful early morning person. Could grate on you if you’re not, but I usually can turn the crankiest around if I persist, but this, shall we say, was a horse of a completely different color. Made me rethink my good intentions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • robprice59 says:

        Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s an easy mistake to make. And I can’t help but wonder if he could do more to help the situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s hard to tell people you need some extra patience. I’ve had people be so rude to me that I too, don’t always say hey, I can’t hear you. It’s the way of the world these days. No one cares. I of course, now that I know, would do whatever I could for this fella but, that comes from my own personal challenges. Thanks. Have a nice weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Goodness. This is a pure lesson in humility. You are very brave to share it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dale says:

    That would make anyone stop in their tracks.
    You just keep on telling him good morning with your cheerful smile and maybe one day, he will smile back…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kingmidget says:

    My son’s girlfriend frequently posts things about how we really don’t know each other’s story. She suffers from anxiety and so it frequently has to do with how people hide those types of things from others. But it could also apply to the newspaper delivery guy. Or many others.

    Because of what she posts, I try really hard not to make assumptions about people I come across. Not always successfully, but still .. I try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If we all tried, think how things would change. More hearts would open, compassion that let’s face it, is down a few quarts, might flow, like root beer. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • kingmidget says:

        Yep. And we definitely need some root beer flowing right about now, don’t we?

        In all seriousness, maybe it’s the writer in me or something else, but I see people out there and try to imagine what their story is. I’ve even written a couple of pieces of fiction based on struggling people I’ve come across. It’s a shame that a lot of us have lost our ability to see the humanity in each other. (And, by the way, I’m not claiming to be even close to perfect in this regard. I can have my moments of frustration and reaction as well. It’s just something I try to work on every day. Some days better than others.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • But at least you’re aware of it. I see so many who just couldn’t care less. Oblivion city. Awareness is the first step. Really. On another note, thanks for tagging me on Twitter. All my posts used to automatically Tweet, but even refreshing that page, it no longer works. I hate WordPress. If I didn’t have so much invested…2000 plus essays, I’d bail.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kingmidget says:

        People with phones in their hands have only made the disconnection and oblivion worse. But that’s just a dead horse I keep beating.

        As for your problem with WordPress and Twitter, hmmm … I haven’t had that problem. But there is a lot to dislike about WordPress’s many “improvements” over the years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s gone viral, the phone thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Patricia says:

    Yes, you blundered but you didn’t know then what you know now. I don’t think you should stop greeting him. Maybe with just a smile and a wave. He might smile back.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My heart bleeds for everyone involved in this story. It was good of the doorman to enlighten you, because you could have turned on him and snarled. I know you wouldn’t, but he didn’t know that. I’m sending you a basket of smiles and 1,000 good mornings.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That was sweet, i think we all judge too quickly in the world we live in, but at the same time you weren’t to know.
    Ive started learning sign language, so maybe you could just learn basic language that could bring a smile to his face 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorryless says:

    There’s a story in every stranger we pass, and you can imagine it numbers in the millions if we live to the ripe old age of “Get off my front yard!”-ness. So it only stands to reason that we are contextualizing in micro-seconds the entire life story of those people, with nary an afterthought as to how misbegotten an idea that truly is.

    I would only disagree with your contention that we don’t know anything. I think it’s that we don’t choose to know something.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Learning a lesson is tough. Admitting it tougher. Moving forward with the knowledge is a gift. Remember, folks are roaming around who wouldn’t recognize a lesson if it dropped on their head, so you’re one up on already.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. RosieJoseph says:

    Years ago when my mum was dying I drove to my house for a shower, and as I was waiting to pull out of a junction with tears running down my face, a lady turned into the junction and she looked so miserable. My immediate thought was ‘what a miserable cow!’ And then I realised that I had no idea what was going on in her life in the same way nobody knew my mum was dying and that’s why I was crying. It was a lesson even in that difficult time. But it’s a hard lesson because we all judge, we all think that peoples lives are the same as ours, when we just don’t know. Respect for writing about it, surely getting people to think is the key. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judgement, yes, the human condition. I’m sure, though years ago, your Mom’s passing is still a painful memory to recollect but, anything that expands the heart had a higher purpose. Thanks for sharing it. Susannah

      Liked by 1 person

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