La Voz de Galicia – October 25, 2019 →

Cristina PatoAs usual, I was in a rush. I ran to the train station, and when I saw that the subway was arriving, I ran faster so I would not have to wait seven minutes for the next one. The man just sat there, atop the stairs, looking for something. Right, then left.

The wheels of his chair stood at the edge of the stairs, and his hands rested on the wheels. I stared at him (it’s unbelievable how one can think about so many things in less than a second). He was an older man, wore dark glasses, and had a wheelchair that appeared to have many kilometers. And in a second, I decided that whatever was happening here, I would not be able to help, so I sidestepped him and ran down the steps. I missed the train anyway.

The New York subway is old and narrow and has serious accessibility problems. In general, all cities in the world have grave accessibility problems. But perhaps worst of all is that most of us are not even aware of these issues, nor do we know how to begin doing our part.

While I waited for the next train, I returned to the steps. The man in the wheelchair was now speaking with another man in Spanish: «The elevator is broken. How am I going to get home?» And the man simply told him not to go anywhere, that he would go find an MTA employee who would be able to help him. And then my train came. And I did not see the end of that scene to which I was not able to contribute.

In my haste, I forgot to be kind (and how many times a day am I not even aware of not being so!). And when I got home, I read, ashamed, the Martin Kornfeld lithograph I have on the door: «If we all do one random act of kindness daily we just might set the world in the right direction.»

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