I was riding the subway from my kids’ school to my office (89th to 14th streets to be exact). In comes a homeless man dragging along a mangy suitcase. And where does he sit? Why next to me of course! So I sucked in my breath and hoped for the best.
As soon as the train starts up again, this man takes out a white sheet of paper and some charcoal, and begins to beautifully and speedily sketch the portrait of a woman sitting across the subway car.
It was amazing! Watching him work was such a treat. He ended up finishing in time to hand it over to the woman as she departed at 42nd St. I was so enamored with his work that I leaned over to my husband and exclaimed, “How cool, only in NYC will you be able to witness such beauty in the making!” I couldn’t hold back my enthusiasm and showered the artist with compliments.
Next thing I knew, he started sketching me! It was mighty difficult too because I was scrunched up right beside him (hence some of the dissimilarities between my actual mug and his portrait). Plus, by the time he started, we were stopped at 34th street which meant he had only a few mor stops to accurately portray me.
Well he did it! I felt terrible because I had no small bills to tip him with but he shrugged me off with a smile.
I feel so blessed to live in a place that holds so many opportunities to experience beauty. But the most beautiful part of this story is what I learned: you just can’t judge people only by how they appear. While this artist I encountered on the subway may have looked downtrodden and out-of-luck, he was actually a bright star, making the world, or at least folks on the subway, that much happier and feeling that much more beautiful!
Here’s to NYC, beauty, and learning new lessons all the time!
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