I was in my favorite city in the world yesterday.
It was sunny, 80 degrees and gorgeous. Daffodils and tulips were in bloom everywhere.
I was hot, sweaty and tired.
So I bought a pint of Dulce de Leche ice cream and found a chair in Bryant Park.
Like a rock in a river, I sat as the world rushed around me. Eating scoop after delicious scoop, I let humanity wash over me delighting in snippets of stories all around.
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to intrude,” a woman’s voice interrupted my solitude as she and a friend walked toward me, grinning. “But that’s the greatest lunch I’ve ever seen anyone eat. You sitting here on this beautiful day eating a pint of ice cream for lunch? You’re my new hero!”
I was too surprised to say anything but something like, “Ice cream’s all you need on a day like today!” because it never occurred to me to not eat ice cream for lunch on a hot day.
We smiled at each other, shared a laugh and left each other’s company feeling brighter.
As I finished the last of my ice cream, I thought of the woman’s bravery in telling a total stranger that she’d made a positive impression. This woman was, like me, also observing humanity and letting it wash over her. But, unlike me, she was reflecting her joy outwardly - shining light on others as she went.
She was my new hero.