The stranger on the roof

I stood there peering through the edge, while wondering how this visit to the empire state building would be any different. The last time I was here was 9 years ago, that was a family trip, this part of a conference. I watched as the people ran from side to side taking pictures of themselves and their loved ones, a proof that they had once been at the top of the tower. Some stood there in awe admiring the beauty of the city from this height, while others bought gifts and curios at the gift shop inside. What people failed to realize though is the fact that anyone could have bought the same items they did at shops anywhere in the city, for half the price.

Empire State Building

Then I noticed him, a frail old man standing at one corner. Dressed in a shirt that was much too big for him and holding an old bag that seemed older than he was, this man wasn’t running around taking photos, or glancing at the city or even buying curios. He just stood there gazing. Then suddenly he looked in my direction. One look into his eyes and I felt something different. Why I do not know but I walked up to this strange old man. “Good Morning!” No reply. I then thought to myself, “Why do I even bother?” and was about to walk away, and just I was doing so I caught his eyes once again. There was something wrong, and so I ventured once again “Is anything wrong?” and again no reply!

Just as I walk away “Its just….nothing.” I turned around, there was something about this old man that filled me with sympathy even though I had hardly seen him. Was it because he could barely walk? Or was it because of that innocent yet deep look in his face? To this day I do not know. “If I can help you, I’d be glad!” at this point the man almost broke down. “I came here with my daughter-in-law, we had a fight and she left, I don’t have any money to get home.” I’m never a sucker for such stories, and yet this time it seemed so different. Someone tapped me on my shoulder “Hey, time to leave man, we have to be back at the pick up point if we want to go with the group on time!” Being on my own I didn’t have much money myself, but after digging around my bag, I handed the man $5, “That’s all I have right now, hope you can make it home with that!”

And with that I left for the place where the bus was supposed to pick us up. I felt within myself great happiness, I may not have solved his problem, but I had done the best I could. There the bus was long; apparently it was caught in traffic. The bus came and the group got on. I found myself a seat by the window! The bus was inching forward in the traffic jam. I glanced out the window and saw the old man walking. I watched to see what he would do. I watched in awe as he walked into the bar!

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2 thoughts on “The stranger on the roof

  1. great article!nice choice of words..some people live by lies…sad isn’t it?..enjoyed reading it…hey,did it really happen to you?

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