Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Amazing Grace

A little girl and her father(?) are entering the subway. The girl is about 4 years old. Long brown hair and animated eyes. Her father is a tall, lanky man with a narrow face and dark eyes. He is wearing a jacket and a tie but still look a bit disheveled. She is wearing a pink T-shirt.

They walk pass my seat and I noticed a key-ring on the seat they just walked pass. Excuse me, is this yours? It's not. He holds the keys in his hand and the little girl starts asking questions. "So the person is locked out?" "How would they get home then?".
The father answers gently but keeps looking at me and finally asks "Would you mind dropping them at the "Lost-and-found"? We're in a hurry". No, I don't mind although I am in a hurry myself. The little girl is watching me with big eyes. I've been assigned a mission by her father and she wants to know why and what it means. I hear the man explaining the details. You see, Grace, when people lose something on the subway, they go first at the office of the lost-and-found and ask for it. If someone has put it there, they will recover it. So, later when someone ask for a key-ring with a "Florida keys" plastic plates on it, they will give it to him. He is now relating another story about dinosaur bones that someone found on a train. Apparently the person in charge forgot them and without the "lost-and-found" they will have just vanished from the surface of the Earth. The little girl obviously knows the story as she completes her father's sentences on the dinosaur bones. She is still mesmerized by it. She is making the link between this plastic key holder and the dinosaur bones story. Her eyes are darting from her father to me. Always with this same admiring look. I am a super-hero. I am going to turn the keys in a the lost-and-found office. I am going to retrieve dinosaur bones.
I stand up to leave, holding the keys in my hands. Wrong stop. The father observes that this is because I am in a hurry to hand out the keys. I mixed up the stations because of my own excitement of the mission he has assigned me.
It does not take long. The little girl says it with a tiny but firm voice.
"I want to do it". The father is puzzled. "You want to do what?" "I want to bring the keys at the lost-and-found." The father is not sure of what to say. After all the built-up it would be hard to tell his daughter no.
He agrees to get out at the next station to take care of it. I tell him that he can do it at any station. That he does not have to stop here but can just take care of it when he arrives at destination. He is relieved to learn that he can do a good deeds without adding any delay to their journey.
The girl is ecstatic. She will be the super-hero, rescuing dinosaur bones. I am grateful too. I won't be late after all...


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