There is a guy in Bowling Green…

There is a guy in Bowling Green…

Well, first of all, let me tell you where Bowling Green is.

In New York City, if you take the green 6 MTA Subway line to its final stop in Manhattan–right before it crosses over into Brooklyn–and pop your head above ground, you’re in Bowling Green. On any given day, that particular train station is crammed with commuters heading to work at one of the many businesses and government offices which reside there. On the weekends, though, commuters rub elbows with tourists and New Yorkers alike who want a tour on the nearby Staten Island Ferry, through the local park, or into the local museum.

In the middle of all this bumping and touring, there is a guy in Bowling Green who stands every day at the top of the escalators leading out of the 6 MTA Subway station. He wears a red vest and shouts into the air with a cheerful smile:

“Free Newspaper in New York!”

Every seasoned New Yorker who works in Bowling Green need not see him to know why he’s there. He’s one of the legion of AMNEWYORK newspaper distributors across the city. AMNEWYORK is a free newspaper circulated daily by these men and women who stand, rain or shine, in the most crowded public areas and offer them to complete strangers. Oftentimes, these employees will silently hand out their wares, unfazed by the thousands of rebuffs they receive daily from commuters.

This guy caught my attention purely because of his consistent enthusiasm for distributing that newspaper. Every day, he is the most cheerful person I see on the way to work. After taking his newspaper one time and wishing him a good day, he has thereafter said an extra “Good morning, beautiful” to me every morning when I come out of the station. In recent days, I’ve been taking his paper and spending a minute or two to ask him how he is doing. He never complains, and he always exhibits appreciation for my asking. He has taken note of the days when I was ill and smiled on the day I finally reported I was feeling better. Professional but kind, he never forces his newspaper into my hand until after he wished me a good day and never before I ask him for one explicitly. On days when I don’t take his newspaper, he treats me just the same as when I do. On days when I am late, he sends a wave in my direction and welcomes the next commuter to Bowling Green with his usual pitch-perfect pitch. Our interactions last a few minutes or seconds, but he has made an impression on me nevertheless.

There is a guy in Bowling Green who is single-handedly making my morning commute a better trip, and all he says is:

“Free Newspaper in New York!”

And I hope he never stops.

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