I was walking near Times Square on Saturday because I wanted to sneak a Big Mac into the movie The Founder and that theatre time was the best option for me. I'm super busy* (*jokes. I'm not) and didn't want to wait for a late night show. Look...I'm really cool...I promise.
As I was passing Madame Tussauds wax museum, one of those guys that tries to shove a $5 coupon in your face tried to shove a $5 coupon in my face. I usually ignore or nod my head no in these situations, but I was feeling content so I smiled at him and said a cheerful "no thanks".
He immediately pulled me aside, held my hand, and said "that smile! It's like I was waiting for that smile all night! You just really brightened my night!"
This gentleman was probably 10-15 years my senior (being generous) and so he wasn't old enough to have it be grandpa-ly cute, but he also wasn't young enough for me to feel alarmingly flattered. But his cold hands held onto mine as he asked me where I was from ("I live in Harlem"..."What are you doing up there?! You belong on Park Ave!"), what I was doing, and then he proceeded to say I shouldn't be running errands but grabbing a drink-perhaps coffee or wine-with him. When I shot both of those options down ("Then what DO you drink?!"), and eventually thanked him for his offer and walked away, I giggled. I giggled the whole time home. Because it was a tiny, insignificant moment that brought two strangers together. And I think we need more of these, quite frankly.
Since this experience I've been thinking a lot about other small but perfect moments I've had recently:
-I talked to an alarmed father about his daughter who was in a car accident but after he asked me for cash I thought it was a scam and I still don't know what to make of it
-I went to a Troubadour performance where I was the only person under the age of 60 in the audience (and I loved EVERY MOMENT-shout out European Studies major!). Here is a link of who I saw perform and yes the flute playing was everything and more.
-My Uber driver last week pitched me his short film and we became Instagram friends all in 15 minutes
-I went to my students basketball games on Saturday and had an intense cheering battle with the moms/sisters/cousins from the other team
-When I was the only person on the bus a couple weeks ago, the bus driver caught my attention (i was really jamming to Frank Ocean at the time), called me up, and we had a delightful conversation that was actually so pleasant I wish I didn't have to get off the bus.
In conclusion, talking to strangers is the best option 90% of the time. Everyone should do it.