The Unusual Man in White and His Jacket

Photo by Nishant Kulkarni on Unsplash

The four giant plastic bins of stinky water on the wooden cart shook up filthy waves, clamoring to spill over. Those bins, groaning, were much too full. The woman pushing the cart on the narrow sidewalk got stuck, conscious of holding up impatient foot traffic in the summer heat. Some openly cursed. She didn’t look much cleaner than the water. Her sweaty top was like a dirty dish cloth begging for a bath. She could barely see over the bins.

That was years ago in the bustling commercial district of Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, which the world liked to describe as “money-grabbing mad”. Causeway Bay back then was full of back street alleys — lodged among shiny high-rises. Both equally brimming with business.

The bottle-neck situation wasn’t resolving itself. Tight for time for a business meeting, I quickly contemplated joining the throngs in risking unpleasant encounters with vehicles, fiercely zooming by, to skirt past the stuck wooden cart. I was pressured to keep going, though not money-grabbing and certainly not mad.

Truer than a movie script, a tall man in a white suit — Oh yes white suits were a thing back then in the colonial near-tropics — appeared out of nowhere. He promptly took off his jacket and asked me to hold it for him. Without saying another word, with a willful heave he pushed the cart over that cursed raised cement. Then as if nothing happened, he retrieved his jacket and walked on.

A noble person does not forget to be kind even when in haste or distress.

No, a white knight might not materialize at every opportune moment. But you can bet the man’s deed burnished a thought medal in many a passer-by.

The woman tending the cart was young. Maybe in her twenties. She might be helping out in her family’s small hawker stand in the alleys or simply had no other choice. What stirred in the murky water of her bins was a mystery. So was her future.

We all have stories others don’t know about. And we might make assumptions about people we hardly know, especially where there’s jealousy and enmity. Whether or not we end up successful in our pursuits, I believe we could all use a helping hand now and then so that we may continue our journey. Consider the giving end.

A noble person does not forget to be kind even when in haste or distress.
~The Analects of Confucius

Does this spark memories of inspiring moments in your life? I would love to hear from you in the comments column.

(Sparked by an old prompt from Amy Shearn and Harris Sockel: Remember a Stranger)

© PseuPending 2022

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PseuPending (Seu)

PseuPending (Seu)

Leisure is a path to the thinking process. Museum Educator/ Contemporary Art Researcher/ Modern Nomad/ Lover of Good Eats. Top writer