Magic of Service


A few days ago, I went wandering into the East Village of Manhattan in search of a post office. It was cold (in the mid 20s) and though I know the area well and had the address of the post office, I couldn't find it.

I was frustrated, freezing, and decided to give up and head home.

Hustling back to Union Square to grab the Q train, a homeless man sitting on the ground caught my eye, specifically the fact he didn't have any gloves. I thought, "No gloves, that can't be good... I'll give him mine."

Even with that idea in mind, I passed him by. I went about 5 yards further, stopped and turned around, and gave him my gloves. He didn't seem too with it mentally but his face lit up, signaling some kind of appreciation.

I carried on, boarded the subway, and made my way home.

Then something remarkable happened. As I was getting off the subway at my stop in Flatbush, I noticed a glove on the ground in perfectly decent condition. If I wanted, I could have washed it and used it. Instead, I hung it on the railing hoping somebody else who needed one might grab it.

In less than an hour, the gift I had given away was returned to me. Only partially, but still.

Besides the obvious magic of having the glove returned like this, I also like to think that not finding the post office wasn't a mistake. I wouldn't have run into this homeless man otherwise and so he wouldn't have received the pair of gloves, which, I'm sure, helped him greatly.