Tonight I met an angel!

I was standing at Saint Lazare on the quai of metro line 3 when I heard a noise. I looked up and vaguely saw someone struggling down the stairs with a trolley with boxes on it and losing control. I felt rushed to get home, end of a long year and finally on vacation, so why would I care about some stranger that was making his or her day complicated by travelling with more stuff than they could possibly handle???

But my look went back to the person and this time I took the time to actually see the person…

I saw a frail little lady. White hair, white clothes, wrinkled face, sparkling eyes. She just stood there looking at her trolley and the boxes threatening to fall off.

I realized that if I were her I would be glad if at least one person in the crowd would stop looking at me struggling and reach out to help, so I got over myself and went up the stairs to help. She warned me kindly that we had to do it together because the load was heavy. It made me smile because she looked like she wasn’t going to be able to lift more than her handbag, but OY!

We carried the trolley down the stairs. She told me how kind I was to help her and thanked me profusely. I asked her if she wanted me to help her get the trolley on the metro, but she said “Ca va aller” (I can handle). Who was I to contradict her?

We stood a door away from each other when the metro came. Tons of people spilling out and then the door signal rang signaling the closing of the doors. I looked at her hesitating to get on. I quickly walked over and lifted the trolley on the metro. The doors closed right behind me. We made it!

Of course she thanked me again. At first I decided I was going to sit away from her, because I didn’t want to get in the way of this clearly determined lady, and to be honest, I’m not a small talker. But something drew me near to her and we sat side by side…

The conversation that followed was heartwarming. She told me that she was 79 and moving from a house in the suburbs to a chambre de bonne across from her daughter’s place in the 11th district. She said I feel like a student again and her face beamed with JOY.

She asked me if I ever moved and how I did that. It was funny to me that this spirited older lady asked my advice. She had to get rid of a lot of her belongings because of moving to a smaller place, but that didn’t really seem to bother her. Instead she was all excited about living in Paris with this whole public transport system at her feet.

The conversation came to my life and when she found out that I’m a single mom she said “You know what? I was a single mom too and my daughter is fabulous, don’t you worry, your girls will be fabulous too. Just make sure that you surround yourself with some good girlfriends to laugh at the frustrations with and all will be fine”.

At that point we arrived at Parmentier. She got up, thanked me one last time, gave me a hug and kissed my forehead…

I asked her if she wanted help and with a smile she said “Ca va aller”. I jumped up, dropped my bag, picked up the trolley one last time, put it on the quai for her and then the doors closed……

This frail little lady full of energy and JOY, she made me think of who I want to be at 79 and she made me believe that I can… Because tonight I met an angel, and she told me that I’m an angel too!!!


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