short story, Travel

My Subway Stories – NY Tales from the Underground part 12

Bad Thoughts

Express 4 train

I sat crammed into a corner of an uptown bound express 4 train, completely lost and oblivious to the various colorful commuters of all sizes thronged in front of me. Thanksgiving was around the corner, but it was somewhat difficult thinking about the holiday with all the bad current events happening. The recent terrorist attack in Paris, the dash-cam video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting and killing a black teenager that went viral, and Charlie Sheen announcing he is HIV positive were embedded in my bed. I couldn’t wait to go home and relax in my bed.

Subway Angel

homeless woman putting on her new boots

Finally, I looked up and realized that the train stopped at the 59th Street station. The metallic doors slid open and a short, brown-skinned homeless woman boarded wearing a thin black T-shirt, sweatpants, and no footwear. My eyes were glued to her feet because she didn’t even have socks on. I felt really bad for her because nobody wants to stand on a dirty subway train bare feet.

To my surprise, a short caramel complexioned young woman with long brown hair got out of her seat and asked the homeless woman, “Hey, what size do you wear?”

“I wear a size six.” The homeless woman answered.

“Great, we wear the same size.”

The young woman took off her Timberland boots and handed them to the homeless woman.

The homeless woman was incredulous. “Are you sure?”

The young woman replied, “Absolutely. What is your name?”

“Arion.” The homeless woman answered as she put on the boots.

“I’m Kathleen. Now, you have new boots to wear.”

“Thank you.” Arion said with tears in her eyes as she hugged Kathleen. “You are so kind.”

“You’re welcome! It is important as people that we give to those who need these things.”

Observing this had me smiling and feeling good. It was magical on the subway. Not only me, but several straphangers complimented her. A tall, black man wearing a hoodie gave Kathleen a pair of black thick Polo sports socks for her walk home. That moment, Kathleen took photos of Arion and her new boots, and of her own stocking feet, complete with thick sports socks. Kathleen was dubbed “The Subway Angel” by the proud commuters.

When the train pulled into the 86th Street subway station, the doors opened, and Kathleen got off waving goodbye to Arion. The doors closed and the train roared in the tunnel. The ride became a great scene of giving and it literally erased all the negativity I read or saw on social media. The message was simple, “It is more blessed to give than to receive. Give to those in need!”

Dedicated to Kay Brown, “The Subway Angel”


By Shamarie Knight, 28th Nov 2015


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