I’m not usually a heavy believer in Karma or “what comes around, goes around” as I’ve seen too many good deeds gone unnoticed and too many atrocities gone unpunished.
Having said that and realizing my situation in very small with respect to all things in the universe I wanted to mention that Karma served me justice this week.
Tuesday morning (September 11) I had to head into work abnormally early for me. I was heading out on the 4:11AM train as I needed to leave work early as I had a Town Council meeting that night.
As I approached Union Station a few minutes before 4AM I saw a guy in a baseball cap standing near the entrance. He was probably in his early 20s and a little taller than me dressed in cargo shorts a polo shirt and a baseball cap. He was trying to talk to the guy walking past him at the time and I just presumed at that point he was pan-handling.
As a rule I never give cash to people that pan-handle (unless they have a really creative sign like the guy that made no bones about needing cigarettes and beer – his cup got my dollar); generally it’s never the truth. I don’t know how many “broke and hungry” signs I’ve seen where I’ve said “come on in [THIS SHOP] and I’ll buy you a sandwich” where the response is “could I just have some spare change – it’s all I need.” Turns me right off and I walk away.
Anyway, I was figuring I’d have to dodge the guy heading into the station for my train. As I got into ear shot (and you have to catch me just right because I am 100% deaf in my right ear) I hear him say “stuck” “no money” “Stamford” and “sleep.”
And I stopped.
“Can you help me; I was on the train coming back from New York on the last train. I was out with friends and my stop was Stamford but I was asleep and missed the station and woke up here. I have no cash to get back to Stamford.”
I’ve done that before myself (eons ago when I commuted to Stamford and parked in Bridgeport); fallen asleep right through my station. The thing is, this guy got off the arriving 3:02 or the 3:56 and there was no turnaround train and he claimed he had no cash.
“You need a ticket to Stamford” I asked.
“Yes” he replied.
“Come inside with me and I’ll buy you a one way ticket.”
I walked inside and the kid followed me; I bought the $6.50 fare, shook his hand and he thanked me and took the ticket.
I didn’t watch him follow me down to track 8; I have no idea if he got on the train or if he waited outside for someone to sell the ticket to for $4.00 or something. I didn’t care – I did my thing and kept going. Thinking I solved a problem for someone who honestly had one is what allows me to do it again someday and not feel like I got taken for a ride.
This morning (Thursday September 13) I decided to hop off the 5:39AM train that arrives in Harlem at 125th street at 7AM and walk to work from there. It just about a 4 mile walk one way and I try to do it a couple times a week.
When I got over to 3rd and down to 117th street I decided to stop at the McDonald’s http://www.mcnewyork.com/4825/ and get breakfast. As I stood in line behind another gentleman who was wrapping up his order he turned to me and asked “are you getting food for breakfast” to which I replied “yes”.
He then asked “what are you having”? I answered the two for $3.00 Sausage Mcmuffin and egg breakfast deal.
And with that and for no reason whatsoever he bought me my meal.
I thanked him, shook his hand and went about the rest of my walk to work.
For those that say nothing good ever happens in Harlem I say “you’re consistently looking in the “bad” places”. I am certain Harlem is never going to win any “nicest neighborhood” awards but it isn’t ALL bad ALL the time.
Karma was at work this week at least for me and I was caught nicely in the updraft.