I should write a 50’s rock ballad to my MBTA angel.
I and my youngest son and husband waited at Riverside for the Green Line train to bring us into Boston. We each had our own Charlie cards – Peter and I standing, milling about, Sam sitting on a bench. There was a fellow with a bright neon MBTA vest sitting at the other end of the bench from Sam.
Checking in, Peter asked Sam if he had his Charlie card. I saw the MBTA fellow shake his head slightly, but his expression was hard for me to read. Upon hearing Peter’s question to so, I then asked him to give me his card for safe keeping, for fear it would fly from his pocket as he shifted his iPhone in and out to adjust tunings. Another shake of the head from the MBTA fellow with this time, I thought, a much readable expression. Thinking he was in parental agreement with me I said something clever to start up an ‘oh you know how kids are’ conversation.
“I’m just embarrassed,” he said. “Embarrassed?” I asked. “Yes, for him.” “Him?” “Yes. He’s so polite he’s not saying anything so I’m speaking for him. You’ve just told him you don’t trust him – and done so in front of all these people.”
Hit by a brick by my MBTA angel. After processing through myriad inner gulps, as our exchange continued, I gave Sam back his Charlie card and apologized.
In the aftermath of that encounter I think to myself, ‘what a grace to be given a moment with this person, unknown to us, who cared enough for humanity to step in and speak up. Yet another reason to love being alive.