February 24, 2013


The boy (young man?) stood by the Union Station McDonalds.
"Excuse me," his pitch would start, then fade off as people walked past him. He was thin, but not unkempt. "Excuse me," he tried again, this time to a tall older man carrying a law school textbook in one arm.

The man stopped, and started talking to the boy. His voice was kind when he asked "How old are you?" The boy's responses were inaudible to me, but the man obviously heard them. "19? And what do you do with yourself?" The two shared a joke, and then the man's voice dropped and I couldn't hear what he was saying. He looked earnestly at the boy, though, and at the end, patted his back as though they were old friends.

I had started to move away, it was time to board my train. The boy approached the McDonald's counter and ordered something. When the cashier looked at him for the cash, he looked back at the man in his wool coat and glasses. The man came forward and paid for the boy's dinner. He waved goodbye, then turned away, and boarded the train home.

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