Right now, I’m writing this post on my dad’s iPhone in the minivan on the way home from Palo Alto, instead of on the CalTrans train. This is why:
Our annual family Christmas Eve Day adventure was staged in Palo Alto. We had no set goal in mind, just to simply get the seven of us home in the seven prices we came in. Now, Cut to the montage!
•We drove through Stanford University. Got the the expected trip from parents, “If you get in here you can get any job you want!”
•Stopped at a freakishly fancy Trader Joe’s to pick up soda
•Picnic-ed between two street musicians; pleasantly noisy.
•Marched our huge party of noisy children through downtown and wandered into a few shops (It was awesome seeing the shopkeepers faces as we wrangled our party into their store.)
We had come in our minivan and were planning on taking the CalTrain home (Letting Dad ride the minivan solo). We walked to the station platform, and tried to locate the ticket machine. Then, out of the fiery midst of our chaotic confusion, an angel emerged.
She rolled on a power chair, and had a sling carrying her right arm. She had a blanket across her lap and was African-American. This detail only matters because she had this hair, that stuck out in tiny ringlets, and these huge brown eyes, that made her look innocently quirky. “Whachu folks need?” She piped perkily with a distinct southern accent, and I noticed that she was missing her two front teeth. I thought of that song, but didn’t dare hum it.
“Oh just a few tickets…” my mom replied.
“Well heah lemme show yew haw tah work da machine,”
From there she proceeded to walk us through the ticket-buying process on the little screen, pushing all the right buttons, making certain we got our “Disscawnts”.
“Now if yews got any… disbilities owa little ones, you get a cheap ticket! Heh heh ‘n I would know. They give awl kinds’a disscawnts!”
“So where yew folks headed?” She asked.
“OOh. Hm… Well Honey I think yew juss missed your train! Juss pulled outta the station… there otta’ be another one in an houah o so…” She said crestfallen, hating to be the bearer of bad news.
The kids immediately went into panic mode,
“I’m tired I don’t wanna stay another hour!!!”
“We gotta SLEEP here?!”
“Hold on HOLD ON we’re not sleeping here relax guys, I’ve got the minivan… but we just bought those tickets!” My dad turned to my mom frustratedly.
“Heah, leeme see…” Our helpful friend motioned to the ticket receipt my dad was clenching. He handed it over and she held it out, peering down at it through invisible glasses.
“MhM… yeupp no return’n these one’s… but ‘s only fif-teen dowllars, not too bad a’ loss” she said still peering but nodding. She looked up and smiled,
“Ya it’ll be fine Honey, juss a little money thass all. Ya’ll should git these kiddies home an’ outta the cold.” She said graveley, starting to pull away.
My parents discussed for a moment, and decided that the CalTrans lady was right.
“Wunduhful. Juss wunduful. Awright yew folks have a good Hol-ee-day, hear?”
“We will! You too! And thank you so much!”
“Awright buh bye Hunnies!” She jovially called as we started walking away. Wait. Who’s the “Honey”? I wondered.
I turned and watched her. She was steering right back to her spot by the bench by all her belongings. She expertly swerved around, and backed into her parking spot under the window, gazing ahead. She saw me, and waved one last time. I waved back smiling, and turned to catch up.
This sweet angel of a woman, whom I am so glad I had to opportunity to meet, is my Christmas Hero. She demonstrated the spirit of Christmas, which is that of our Savior Jesus Christ. Humble and Compassionate, I wish this woman all happiness, which shouldn’t be a problem because she was genuinely merry already. I can only pray that she has a Christmas as Merry as herself then, and that wherever she is, her compassion and kindness will continue to affect other people’s lives, as she did mine.
Have a Merry Christmas Everybody!