Angels Among Us
I've never felt that I've been given more than I can handle in life. Sometimes it seems to get really darn close, but then something always happens to rescue me at just the right moment. An unexpected smile from someone on the subway, a tender word from the guy at Starbucks. A child in his mother's arms knowingly touching my face in the elevator, a dog racing toward me in the park, determined that wild, unbridled affection is just what I need at that exact moment…
Earlier today, I was in Grand Central Station. I'd had a really difficult week, and some friends were kind enough to offer their home for me to rest and reflect. I vaguely remember them promising to make me laugh, let me cry, smother me with care and leave me alone.
I bought my ticket and treated myself to lunch. I could feel the sadness starting to seep through the brave face I'd been trying to wear. It felt good, and felt even better knowing that I'd soon be somewhere where I could let it come and fully feel it. I was looking forward to that release, only an hour or so away, as I went to pay the bill… only to realize that my wallet was missing.
Mortified, I promised to bring the counter waitress the money – to which she simply smiled and told me not to worry – as I gave her my bag as collateral before racing off. I ran frantically to the bathroom where by now I was certain I left it. No one had seen it, though people I've never met looked deeply into my eyes, touched my shoulder and arm, and sighed with me. I ran to the lost and found, which was closed, but found a police officer who, with the kindest smile, took my cell phone number and promised to personally call if anyone turned it in. He sweetly pretended not to notice the tears now streaming uncontrollably down my face… tears that had nothing to do with my wallet. He told me to go to the station manager, give his name, and to say that he'd be up on his next break to pay for my ticket.
Silently weeping, I ran to the station manager. On my way, I passed a bartender and asked whether anyone had turned my wallet in. He said no, and with the most genuine look of concern asked whether I had any money to get home, offering me a $20. I thanked him, but told him that the officer already had it covered.
I stopped to ask the Metro North desk clerk whether he'd seen my wallet. As he sadly shook his head no, the woman sitting next to him came out from the booth, and holding my hand the whole way, walked me across the terminal to the station manager, assuring me in that knowing, soothing mother tone that everything would be just fine… just fine, baby.
The station manager listened to my story, and as she handed me the ticket – that she refused to charge the officer for, and instead paid for herself – touched my hand in a way that made my heart lurch. The desk clerk was still holding my other hand. As I thanked them both, the desk clerk I'd initially spoken to ran up to us, holding my wallet. I've never seen a more beaming, proud smile on a grown man's face. Apparently a woman had almost missed her train in order to make sure the wallet got to the 'right place'. It was as I'd left it- $360 in cash, a week's worth of clients' checks, all of my credit cards…
I'd missed the train I'd planned to take, and so – with 45 minutes to go before the next – went about finding the other Good Samaritans who'd been so kind to me. Alma, the counter waitress, had already paid my check with her own money, and refused to take my cash or a tip. Mike, the bartender, greeted me with a 'hooray!' and insisted we celebrate together with ginger ale, on the house. Another heart-melting smile, and I was off to find the police officer.
Jim clapped and laughed out loud when I came bursting through the door, wallet raised above my head. He told me how thrilled he was that it had been found, as they're rarely returned, and insisted that I celebrate with something much stronger than ginger ale when I got upstate…
As I was walking out the door, he called out, "Jennifer, you know, you have angels watching over you."
I told him that yes, I did.