A moment in the subway

I was in the subway going uptown two days ago and a young woman stood up and raised her voice. “This is the first time I have spoken on the subway,” she said. I assumed she would be asking for money, but then I noticed that she had two large shopping bags with her, filled with toys. She continued: “I just went to Toys Are Us  to pay for my layaway toys for my childrens’ Christmas presents, and I was told that my layaway had been payed for. And I was given this card.” She read out the card. A stranger had payed for her layaway in memory of Dylan, one of the children killed in the Sandyhook massacre. “I just had to tell someone about this,” the woman said. Many people on the subway wept. I wept. I told a friend who lives near Newtown about this, and she said people are committing random acts of kindness all over the country. It’s the goodness of people that astonishes me.

6 Responses to “A moment in the subway”

  • Nicole:

    Beautiful story! Thanks!!!!:)

  • GinaB:

    moving how we can come to mean even in small everyday gestures to be moving always as on a train along electric rails observing passengers crying as though from relief with proof that we are moving

  • Marie:

    Touching story
    Thank you for sharing

  • Cynthia:

    Thank you for sharing, how astonishing. I confess I read your post with a sense of disbelief. I wondered if I was reading a fictional vignette you created. A scene in a short story in the making? Perhaps something as personal and searing as the short piece Richard Ford wrote on the death of his father in the first issue of the New Yorker after 9/11? After a few minutes, I admitted to myself that it is the mayhem that maimed, killed and damaged those precious children and their families that created an absurd little struggle with disbelief and with unreality within me. This scene in the subway happened. Because what happened in Newton is reality, although a reality that our minds cannot contain in a consistent way.
    I am glad you, Rebecca, witnessed this moment in the subway because you have the ability to record it and to share it properly.

    Perhaps you are old enough to have received The Lonely Doll books as a child. Around the same time you witnessed this subway scene, the week of December 21st and thereabouts, I found myself returning to the images of the Lonely Doll books I owned. In fact, I bought a couple used copies on Ebay supposedly as gifts (I kept them). Then I realized I has been no more than six and seven, in my very earliest school years, when I was completely enchanted with Dare Wright’s images, (although a bit worried about Edith’s life where parents were in little evidence). Before the written word took root, when my every hour was supervised, sheltered and protected and life at school was eclipsed by the richness of the hours of play at home. Perusing those photo story books pulled me directly back into the little fledgling lives interrupted and torn away in Newton.

  • Ellie:

    What a touching story, my heart aches at the thought of Dylan and the rest of the children not being here to receive their own presents this Christmas.

  • Julia:

    That is one of the nicest things I have heard. It is the random acts, the unexpected acts that catch your breath. When people are kind to you and they don’t even know you-that moves the heart & restores faith. When my house burnt down in a bushfire it was the kindness of strangers that most surprised me. Thanks for posting :)

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