THE city of New York is said to be one of the least forgiving in the western world. Or so I was told before my first visit two years. And yet, I find the majority of its inhabitants are some of the most amazing, considerate and brilliant people I have ever come across.
Unlike most big cities where you become so used to your surrounds, Big Apple dwellers don’t seem to tune out the rest of the world.
Maybe because they are constantly reminded that they are on borrowed time in this incredible city and never seem to forget that once upon a time they too were new to the city.
Since the second we stepped off the plane, we have been assisted without even asking for help. I don’t think that even happens in Australia. On a couple of occasions I have questioned whether the helpfulness of the New Yorkers were actually genuine or if they were just trying to lure us to where they wanted us (we gave the really sketchy guy the slip in the subway, so I guess we will never know).
I put all this amazing (and some possibly dodgy help) down to Karma and in particular travel Karma. As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe in paying it forward and not expecting anything in return. Today, in the subway at 103rd and Broadway, we were about to board the 1pm train, but we literally couldn’t fit on, so we waited for the next one. Before the doors of the train closed, a man pushed his wife through the doors and somehow managed to squeeze through them himself. And she practically collapsed onto the ground in front of us in a coughing fit, dry-reaching and crying. The woman had (as far as we could tell) had been crushed by the overcrowdedness of the train. I had never seen it so packed. It looked like a can of sardines.
The African-American woman continued to choke, cough and splutter, while her husband held her up. I felt so helpless, I have no medical or first aid training, so I couldn’t do anything medical to help. The only thing I could do was offer a bottle of water we has just bought to the man. He then was looking for tissues to wipe his wife’s face and thankfully I had some. So, I handed them to him. The look he gave me will stay with me always; it was a look of restored faith, appreciation, hope, and genuine heart-felt thanks.
We were about to jump onto the next train and he simply said “thank you so much, hope you have a great day”.
There is no better feeling, than helping.
I think as a society we are all so focused on getting ahead, buying posessions to show off our “wonderful lives” on social media that we can’t see past the ends of our noses (I got that from Mary Poppins – she could teach people a thing or two).
So, when you are next in a foreign city or see people visiting from other countries in your home city, don’t be closed off.
You never know what can happen if you open your mind and heart.