April 19th, 2012
On my way home from school, I take the 6 train from 23rd Street then transfer to the F train at Broadway-Lafayette to get to Brooklyn. As usual, I rush into the train just before the doors close. Today, I couldn’t help but notice the man with a limp pleading for some change. “Another beggar”, I thought as I quickly moved through the cars to the front of the train in order that he doesn’t approach me. Just as I was about to arrive at my transfer stop, the train came to a halt. There was train traffic and we were stopped for a while. Soon enough, the doors connecting the train cars opens and in comes the beggar. I watched as he struggled to enter through the doors with carrying all of his life’s possessions. This time though, I knew I had nowhere to go. It was at that moment that I remembered Life Vest Inside’s message and understood why I was on that train at that time.
I reached my hand out to hold the door open for this man. What was seemingly a simple kind act turned into something magical that spread throughout the car. Some tourists noticed me holding the door open and they followed suit. Just before the man can open his mouth to speak, I tapped him on the shoulder, looked him the in eyes and handed him a dollar. He looked back at me with genuine appreciation and said “bless you, sir”. He finished his speech and one by one, nearly all of the passengers on the almost full car pulled out some money to support this man. I looked around at the people and I could see the kindness spreading throughout the car contagiously. One woman even pulled out a packed sandwich and gave it to the man. Just before the train was about to move forward, the man came to life. He began reciting the recorded messages that the train plays verbatim and wished us all a well.
Most of the time, we can get wrapped up in our day, rushing from one place to another trying to accomplish this and that while chasing after our view of success. And it’s not until our train comes to a halt that we take a look at those around us and recognize what we are really here for. There is so much we can accomplish once we realize how big the little things we do really are. If we can see how one simple act can make a broken man come to life, we will begin to recognize our potential to effect positive change in the world.
Joey Dweck is a student at Baruch College and an integral part to the Life Vest Inside team.