A NYC state of mind

CIMG0110I got introduced to Karri Hour through a friend I met in Southeast Asia. The region itself promotes a kind of compassion and caring for others not readily found in other cultures. Returning to the US, I was nervous that I would turn into the usual frowning speed walker that is all too common in my hometown of NYC. I made it one of my goals to maintain, at home, the feelings of goodwill, patience, and kindness that I enjoyed while traveling and meeting new people. There is little better way to do this than through constant Karri Hours, continuing these acts of faith not for myself but in honor of someone who was cherished by a close friend I made through my travels.

In New York it is sometimes hard to find the opportunity for a random act of kindness, but today the moment struck me. Exiting from the subway at a quick pace, a man who was handing out free AM papers was saying something different than normal. He was saying, “Help me out, please help support me by taking a paper, there’s good stuff in here.” I sped past him, but quickly realized that this could be my first of hopefully many Karri Hours. I remembered that those guys, the ones with the pamphlets, papers, and coupons had a thankless job; a job that relied entirely on other people. The faster they give away their papers, the more they get paid, the faster they move up the ranks, and in all likelihood they better they feel about their lives. Those jobs are probably the lowest you can have, and definitely the most challenging. The individuals doing it most of the time are just scraping by to support their kids, and are doing the only thing they can – any job is better than no job, and probably no one wants that one.

I quickly turned around and took a couple of papers from him, and made a point to not just brush by the rest of the guys being paid to hand out stuff like that as I made my way home. Unlike the other 90% of people, I was taking what they were offering, and I did it with the intention of helping them make their living. Who knows how long they would be standing out in the cold, or how much grief they would get from their bosses if they didn’t hand out all their papers. After I got a paper I saw a couple of other people get one too. It may not be the best Karri Hour, but it made a difference to him. I think it takes time to recognize these opportunities but I’ll hopefully get better and better at realizing the right moment.

What a coincidence that the cover story of the paper was entitles “campaign aims to make NYers a little nicer”.

Rebecca Hirschfeld

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