A Rarity in Question

How a stranger's kindness changed my perspective

Originally published at

On the subway, the other day, an elderly man, who sat next to me noticed a young girl standing across from us, gripping the pole with her left hand, revealing the sparkling stone on her ring finger. He reacted, “Beautiful! Is that your birth stone?” and her response was “No, it’s just my engagement ring.” “What?! He hasn’t married you, yet?!” She started laughing and said “Yes, I am actually married, but I am wearing my engagement ring, today.” He smiled and concluded the conversation with “Good! Good man.” His presence sent an incredibly warm vibe following her smile towards him.

This interaction inspired me to put away my headphones and blackberry to genuinely take in what was happening within the environment. The young girl and I both got off at the same stop as he smiled at both of us and said “Have a wonderful day.” I couldn’t help but smile as I started walking towards the Grand Central exit.

But something inside me interrupted that smile with this underlying thoughtPeople aren’t kind to each other, just for the sake of being kind, he wanted something. But internally, I was feeling something else – It’s okay to take in the good energy he gave you. There was a reason why you removed your headphones to engage in this interaction.

Then I got to thinking; Am I too plugged into technology to observe my surroundings – let alone appreciate moments of humanity? Or is it possible that because I am so plugged in that people wanting to engage with someone to only satisfy their wants and needs, has become a new found paranoia, plugged into me? Was the elderly man genuinely being kind or was I genuinely being conned?

Obviously, this man lived his youth in a time where technology was not in the palm of everyone’s hands, literally. Maybe in a world of loneliness, where we constantly communicate through devices rather than face to face, he just wanted to reach out and engage in conversation with someone…

He made my morning by making me realize this; I’m in New York City, I can hide behind my music and my smart phone all I want, but the reality is I’m not isolated.

And when it comes to valuing positive, engaging, face to face energy – I’m definitely not alone…

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