“Strangers Are Just Friends You Haven’t Met Yet” a.k.a. Blessed Too
I’m supposed to speak at the New York Public Library in fifteen minutes, but they are running early, so when I see the woman who hired me waiting, I swipe my credit card in the cab, grab my bag, and don’t look back. I don’t look back to see my iPad left behind on the seat next to me.
I have no receipt or Medallion number…
But I do have the Find My Phone App, and my iPad is two blocks away and traveling…very slowly. Could it be coming back to me? My driver had six kids and seemed like a good, honest man. An hour later it was still so close and yet so far…the App shows my phone is still two blocks away. Library security and my Access-a-Ride driver both were kind enough to use the GPS coordinates to track down every yellow cab SUV nearby (like the one I arrived in)…with no results. Finally, we give up to pick up one more passenger on 42nd before heading home.
She’s wearing bright colors and from the inside, she just glows. I can tell even before we speak that she’s a deeply spiritual woman. We are late because of my iPad hunting. I apologize and explain about the rogue iPad. She says “Believe me, I’m just happy you came…I’m sorry about the iPad, I hope you get it back… I’m sure you will.” I say what I know is right, even though I’m still struggling with lingering disappointment…”God will take care of it….it’s only a thing.”
She says, “You’re really right. You know, a year ago my house burned down and I lost everything. My mom’s wedding dress, all our pictures, the family china…we had to start over…but me and my six kids none of us were hurt. So, I’m just grateful.” Wow. I nod and say I’m glad they were all ok. How’s the new house now? I asked. “Oh that’s not my new house…That’s a shelter.” I now feel supremely stupid for focusing on my lost iPad at all. We pray together for a new safe place for her and her children. She thanks me and we exchange numbers, and as I arrive home she says, “Please do keep me in your prayers and I pray you do get your iPad back.” We hug and I ride the elevator thinking of my beautiful new survivor friend and that my iPad Really IS ONLY A THING….I feel myself relax – surrender….
Once upstairs and sitting down, my phone rings. A clear, friendly voice says, “Hello! I have your iPAD… I’m at X, about to have lunch.” He seems warm, approachable.
“My hero!” I exclaim “Thank you, thank God! Where are you? I’ll be happy to come to you.” He agrees and because he sounds lovely, I say “I can’t wait to meet you!”
So, I venture from 81st back to 20th street to meet My iPad Guardian. As I ride, I find myself thinking unguarded thoughts like… I’d really like to know this person; I wonder if I could stay and chat a bit…still, I remind myself that I haven’t been invited. So, when my driver, a friendly finance major offers to stay and wait, I say yes…Just in case.
The restaurant looks like Europe personified and is covered in flowers, a beautiful bench outside and I am called over by a voice to see two welcoming Einstein-genius/philosopher-haired men at the table near the window and cascading flowers. James and Kamal. The three of us start talking about writing, self-love (a topic all three of us write about), and after a few minutes, my iPad rescuer asks if I’d like to stay and join him and his companion. I’m relieved that my first instinct to stay is not off-base. “I’d love to, but let me just pay for my cab and I’ll be right back.” Before I can move, James jumps up and says, “Please, let me.” I’m so in shock at his kindness, I’m not sure if I even say thank you because I’m so in awe. This is not what happens when you lose an iPad…and yet…here we are.
A few minutes and googles later, we find that James and I both write for Positively Positive (this very blog); and it hits me that I have read and have followed my new friend on Twitter for at least two years! “I know YOU, I can’t pronounce your last name, but I know you!” I remember reading one piece he wrote about what we can learn from spiritual leaders and saying “I’d love to meet this guy someday,” and here he was…holding my iPad hostage…. In my excitement, I find myself saying too much about everything – self-esteem, past relationships, life, near-death experiences, God. You know…just light getting-to-know-you conversation.
Then, he shares with me…
James Altucher, a well-known author of more than a dozen books, entrepreneur of at least twenty companies, tells me that fifty-seven days ago he gave away all his possessions (including his Ivy League diploma). Sixty-two days now. It is only THINGS after all.
Blessed is the man rich in humility. Blessed am I to have a divine appointment with two such welcoming men.
Later that night, James writes a post about our meeting called BLESSED…and I truly am.
Especially in New York City!
I do not believe in coincidence. I do believe in daily miracles and that they flourish best with faith, and willing, open hearts.
I realize I was never meant to lose an iPad, I was only meant to gain a friend (or two).
Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy, serving as writer, teacher, speaker, mentor, and Exemplar for the AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge toward the creation of Assistive Technology. A member of an international network of extraordinary women, 85 Broads, she was heralded by founder Janet Hanson as an “amazing role model for all women.” With her personal stories and ongoing mentoring work, Xian is invested in contributing positively to self-esteem and the collective self-image, especially for women. To support her True Beauty efforts for people with disabilities, please join her Facebook community and follow her on Twitter.