Trains, Rings, Korean Men & Humanity…

Sooo last night  I was on the train and they were doing trackwork so it was a bit confusing which trains were going where. This old Korean man came to me and asked for directions because he was confused too. I told him to follow me and we sprinted to the other side. We sat and waited together, he asked me about my weekend and told me about his. He explained he’d gone gambling for the day to get away from the city, and he’d won some money. He leaned in and with bright eyes whispered , $2600 and drew his hand back like jackpot, and smiled ear to ear. He went on to tell me he’s had good luck lately and won $250,000 on one ticket and tens of thousands on other random tickets. Explaining it left him kind of speachless, or the excitement paired with language barrier, he couldn’t get it out. He’d make the motion of scratching lottery tickets, mumble an amount and smile. He said he and his wife needed it as they own a small store in Crystal City, that I’m assuming isn’t doing so hot, but he was embarrased to take the state required photograph for his big win. He took off his glasses and made a funny face and explained that’s what he did when he held the big check for the picture. He served in Vietnam in the early 60’s as a translater, as he speaks 5 languages and and is a master martial arts instructor who swims for one hour each evening and does not eat meat in the evenings and that’s why he ‘has the body of a 25 year old with a six pack’ as he explained.  He told me about a juice he swears by that keeps his ‘old body young’ and is good for your bones, and talked about the importance of treating your body well. No smoke, no drink, no meat late he demanded.
Before I got off the train he asked me my ring size. My face wrinkled a bit with flattery and confusion. “six” I told him, he pulls a ring out of his jacket pocket made from blown glass and asks for my hand and slides it on my ring finger, and said ‘this is very very good luck’. When you rub it, it changes colors. I stopped at 7-11 when I got off the train and bought a $10 scratch ticeket per his suggestion. While I got no money, I did get a realllllllly cool ring, and a reminder of the importance of humanity and the kindness of strangers. 
I told my dad this story and he reminded me about the time he and my mom were in Manhatten in the mid 70’s.  A French man was lost, and frantically asking for help mostly in French and barely audible English. My brilliant mom who spoke nearly 4 languages ran to help him. “I’ve never seen anyone look more releived in my life” my dad explained.  I suppose I adapted her nurturing gene.


~ by tortillacachupa on February 28, 2011.

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