You see a lot of interesting people every morning near the train station. There is Mr. Jim, the Salvation Army guy, who is the staple presence inside the building even in January, when people think they are done with their charity giving. I love coming into work and seeing Mr. Jim sitting on his stool next to his red bucket. He always has a jovial smile and a firm handshake for you. Then there is the guy who hawks “designer” purses and hats, sometimes scarves and gloves. The guy who occasionally sells boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts, right on the side of the street. In the middle of the sidewalk across the street from the station, on most days when it is not pouring or freezing, you will see a bespectacled old lady sitting in her beach chair. Sometimes when people walk by they will greet her like an old friend. On some days, this old lady will be accompanied by an old gentleman. The two of them sit side by side in the midst of the current of people rushing towards the surrounding buildings.
When I came into work this morning, as usual, I stopped by Dunkin Donuts to get my customary “Large with cream and sugar” and as a treat, a bagel twist in Jalapeño cheddar flavor. The old lady was not there today so the old gentleman was there by himself. As I rushed towards my office building, he extended his hand, the subtle movement of his hand pantomimed the question in jest, “Is that coffee for me?”
I recognized the glint in his eyes and the faint smile at the corner of his mouth. For the first time I noticed how much he looks like Morgan Freeman.
“Of course!” I smiled and handed him my coffee. I looked at the paper bag in my other hand, “How about a bagel?”
“Thank you so much! You made my day!” He broke into a dazzling smile, “Take this!” and handed me today’s Chicago Redeye.
I took one look at the front page and I knew.
Seriously. If this is not a message from god, I don’t know what is…