The Kindness Of Strangers

Decor To Adore: Sharing the Umbrella

The second year I taught in Korea, I had an after school tutoring student. I would teach kindergarten from 8 to 3, then travel to Anna’s house by four to tutor her until five. On the way home I would have dinner and finally arrive home around seven. A long day, but it was lucrative and rewarding. One day, not during the rainy season because if it was rainy season I would have planned better, after I left home it started to rain. Not standard rain. Monsoon rain.

Most of my trip was underground. Five blocks to the subway station. One change of trains. Then two blocks to Anna’s house. I knew, based on past experience, somebody would be selling umbrellas in the train station. Seoul, South Korea is the Land of Random Acts of Retail. So after school, I turned up the collar of my jacket, hunched my shoulders, and set off for the train station. I had walked less than a block and a half when a woman stopped me on the sidewalk pressed her umbrella into my hand and walked away. I was still drenched when I got to my tutoring appointment. But not nearly so badly as I would have been.

I still have the umbrella.

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