A Horribly Kind Stranger Changed My Life
A City Girl’s Story
Staring out my office window, thinking to myself…it’s a short walk to the train station, and only drizzling out; I shrugged at my umbrella and left it at my desk. The Boston Resident’s Guide to Success explicitly states that Back Bay is where umbrellas go to die…right after the chapter explaining that you need to be a millionaire to afford the rent.
I don’t feel like listening to music, but I put my headphones on any way to ward off unwanted conversations. Tourists have an annoying habit of asking for directions, or saying hello.
Crossing the street, and expertly dodging oncoming traffic, because crosswalks are for the weak.
A tall older gentleman with salt and pepper hair, and a suit that convinced me he can afford the rent in this city, casually jogs up to me. “Excuse me miss, but a beautiful woman like you should not be walking in the rain!” He ignored my obvious annoyance, and had the audacity to smile at my eye roll! He just continued, “You should have young men lined up for the sole purpose of holding an umbrella for you while you walk. Please allow me to escort you.”
My headphones had failed me, clearly they were powerless against this particular brand of evil. I responded, “I’m not far, I left my umbrella in case it was windy.” He smiled again, “Oh I see, well I’m glad I’m here!” Unfazed by my defenses, he held up his umbrella and offered his arm. No one had offered me their arm since prom night, who is this psycho?!
I immediately thought this could be the Boston version of Taken, except my dad isn’t Liam Neeson, and his very specific set of skills include being a walking sports almanac. This weirdo kind of looks like Liam Neeson. I laughed a little, shrugged off my years of stranger danger education, and took Liam’s arm.
Maybe it was his impeccable manners, or the fact that I was calling him Liam in my head, but whatever the reason, my cold Bostonian heart melted just enough to allow this man to gift me a kindness. We shared a wonderfully short conversation while he held his umbrella, and walked me to Back Bay station. It turns out he CAN afford the rent.
When we arrived, I took my arm back and said “thank you…ya know, for not kidnapping me.” He laughed in response, shook his head and said “goodnight beautiful.”
I returned his smile, and got on my train. He wanted nothing more than to name me beautiful, and shield me from the rain.
Liam makes me wonder how many amazing humans I’ve missed out on because of my attitude…or how many heinous crimes I’ve successfully avoided because of my attitude.
Perception is a funny thing.