Came across this quote today: « The entire cosmos is a cooperative. » I suppose that says it all.
What would happen if we each realized only that?
In the métro, I had a taste this morning. In need of help to sort out why my son’s annual transport pass wasn’t working, I inquired at the window in a métro station near my home. The fellow behind the window was friendly, kind, listened to me. His eyes were clear, he smiled, and did what he could to remedy the situation. When he couldn’t solve the problem, he called someone on the phone who could.
It took awhile. We chatted. He was Italian, asked where I was from, said he’d like to visit America…
A woman with a baby in a stroller came to ask about the price of a ticket to a station in a distant suburb. He directed her to the vending machines, because that’s the only place to buy tickets now: No more human contact; machines are cheaper. She hesitated, he sensed her anxiety. « Do you know how to read, in French? » he asked her kindly. No, she said, she didn’t. His colleague went off to help her.
He continued to deal with my problem. There are many, many people like that woman, he told me, people who can’t read and therefore can’t buy tickets in the machines without help. I see so many of them, he said quietly. They try to find a way of getting help without having to admit that humiliating fact. Here in the métro we see so many poor people, he said, and this seemed to pain him. I was so touched to see that he was touched.
When he had at last solved my problem, we were both overjoyed. « You saved my life! » I told him with a smile, repeating what only moments before he had told his colleague on the phone who had helped us. We laughed. « Does that mean you’re in love with me? » he joked. « Yes! » I replied, only half kidding, for what had been shared among all of us in that 20 minutes in the métro was indeed love.