Lisa clicks off the television and settles back onto the unmade bed. “What is this world coming to?” she asks the empty hotel room. Even in the fairly small town of Tallahassee, so far from the bright lights of her Las Vegas home, the newscast was full of crime ridden stories.
Catching a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror, she leans in for a closer look. “You know better than to watch that stuff, the good things just don’t get the ratings.” Satisfied with the tongue lashing, she gathers her belongings and heads for the elevator.
The elevator doors open, “looks like you’re full; I’ll just wait for the next one,” she says to the sea of faces staring back at her. As the doors close, Lisa realizes they aren’t staring at her, but through her. It’s like she wasn’t even there.
The ding of the next elevator signifies its arrival. The ride down takes longer than usual, picking up more passengers at each floor. When the doors finally open onto the hotel lobby Lisa has been relegated to the back corner, her suitcase balanced precariously on one foot. As the crowd shoves its way out the door, she reaches out to keep it open and is surprised to see a luggage carrier fill the doorway.
“Excuse me, I need to get out.” Lisa says peeking over the mass of bags piled onto the cart. She hears a frustrated sigh as the woman on the other side reluctantly backs up. Squeezing through the tiny space provided, Lisa makes her way to the taxi stand.
“Airport, please,” she tells the cab driver as she hops in the car. He nods then starts the meter for the short drive to the airport. “Can you drive past the capitol building on your way?” Lisa asks. She loves the oak lined streets of northern Florida, a refreshing change from the concrete jungle of her own city. I guess you can, Lisa thinks as he turns onto Main Street without responding. Just then, Lisa is thrown forward as the cab squeals to a stop. A jaywalking couple, camera in hand, doesn’t even notice as they snap a picture of the historic building.
What a depressing day this is. What happened to simple kindness? Is it really possible that we’ve become so self-absorbed? When did we stop paying attention to each other?
“That will be twelve fifty,” the driver turns and holds out his hand for payment, breaking Lisa’s train of thought.
“Oh, sorry,” she says and frantically searches through her purse for some cash. Thirty seconds later, the driver speeds off and leaves Lisa standing at the curb with a suitcase, her laptop and an overflowing purse. Desperately trying to avoid the maze of cars flying through the drop-off area, she quickly backs onto the curb. “Okay, get it together,” she tells herself, trying to stuff her wallet into her purse and simultaneously grab her driver’s license so she’ll be ready for the security check.
The next thing she knows, she is lunging toward the concrete, the contents of her purse flying across the walkway. On hands and knees, she looks up in time to see a man running towards the entrance. “Sorry,” he yells. Just great! Is that my wallet over there?
“I’ll get it!” says a sunny voice behind her. A little girl of about four scampers over to the wallet and snatches it up from the floor. She smiles and squats down, placing Lisa’s scattered belongings into her purse. “Are you okay?” she asks, holding out her hand to help Lisa off the ground.
“Yes, I am. Thank you.”
“You needed a helper and my mommy says I’m a very good helper.”
“Well, your mommy is right. It was a very kind thing to do, I’m glad you noticed me.
“You looked like you needed it,” her eyes twinkle with mischief, “didn’t she Mommy?”
Lisa follows the child’s gaze and notices a smiling woman holding a tiny pink purse with purple hearts. The mass of blonde curls below speaks up. “That’s my mommy and that’s my purse. I keep special things in my purse and wouldn’t want to lose them. I guess you do too“.
“I do, and on top of that I was a little sad today. What you did for me cheered me up. My name’s Lisa, what’s yours?”
The little girl looks up and holds out her hand for the proper introduction. “My name's Hope.”
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