This morning, I had the pleasant experience of working together with a complete stranger on the train I ride to Lexington and 63rd street on a project that helped achieved a mutually pleasant goal — getting from one place to another in optimal comfort. Well, as comfortable as one can be sitting on chairs that are a notch above McDonalds chairs as far as looks go. (I once read that McDonalds seats are designed to be just comfortable enough to allow you to sit for a short period of time — enough to eat the food product they excrete from the bowels of their kitchen, that is!)
I was sitting with an open seat to my right, somewhat intrigued that nobody had taken the seat as there were people standing. A woman got on the train and I stood to allow her to sit. She declined and pointed to the seat itself. I then noticed that there was a tiny puddle of dirty water on the seat. She got four paper napkins out of her purse and started to go for the seat when I realized that it would be far more efficient from my seated position to clean the puddle.
I took the napkins and cleaned the seat pretty thoroughly, even getting a couple of stains on the side and then stood to allow her to sit. She sat and we rode on, content that we could now press forward on our individual journeys. I quickly put the dirty napkins into the bag that I carry with me every day — I wasn’t about to give her back the napkins!
You may wonder, was it not her stain to clean as it was her intended seat? Perhaps, but as it was far easier for me to reach, I felt it behooved me to make the effort to help her. Thanks were given, though not needed — the satisfaction of helping another was more than enough.
Opportunities like these come up and in our peripheral vision more often than we realize. Taking the time to occasionally look for it makes for a better place for everyone, I have found.