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July 28, 2014 / 1 Av, 5774
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A Large Cup of Kindness to Go, Light and Sweet

Today, three weeks later, I was feeling much better. The situation that caused me so much pain that filled my mind on the day I met her seems to be on the mend. I felt positive, and wanted to do a kindness to reflect that good mood. And so once again, I decided to buy the woman in the subway station a hot drink. The last time I had given her a coffee I bought a Danish to go along with it, so I thought I’d ask her if she liked it or if she preferred a different pastry. It was the first time I had anything that can resemble a real conversation with her. I asked her how she was, and if she liked the pecan Danish. She said that the Danish was delicious, but more importantly, she told me about the room. “I was on the street for three weeks,” she said, “and now I finally have a room.”

Knowing that this would be the last time, I decided to buy her something for later as well, aside from the coffee and pastry. I was back three minutes later with a large cup of light and sweet coffee, a cinnamon Danish, and a cream cheese sesame bagel. As she had in the past, she said her thank you and G-d bless you and I told her that it was my pleasure and wished her a good day. Then I wished her good luck and I left the station, moved by the irony of the whole situation. That woman had been there when I needed her, and now she was moving on. When I first met her, she taught me that the perceived injustice in my life could in fact make the world a more fair place. When I was sad about a tragedy, she taught me that the world can still be a place of kindness. And when I felt positive and hopeful, she shared with me a message of hope of her own. And most importantly, she taught me a lesson about the value of kindness, in the form of a large cup of coffee, light and sweet.

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“I have a room,” she said. “Saturday I will move in. My church is paying for it. I’m here today and tomorrow, hopefully that will give me enough to get an air mattress, and then I will never do this again.” I wished her luck, and I walked away, feeling moved by the interdependence all humans have on each other, and with a deeper understanding of just how much we get when we give.

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