No one saw the old man shuffle in and sit down at the end of the counter, or knew how long he had been sitting there. He ordered a cup of coffee, stirred three sugars into his cup, and sat alone, although, he was surrounded by people. He smiled at a woman leafing through magazines. She turned away. A small boy appeared beside him to look at the pies in the glass counter. His mother snatched him away, and dragged him back to a booth. No one saw the old man leave, or noticed he left two one-dollar bills beside his cup. Another man sat down, saw the bills, and pushed them across the counter to the waitress saying whoever sat there before him left them as a tip. The girl put them in her pocket replying it had been some old bum.
The old man walked on enjoying the warmth of the sun. Every now and then he would smile at someone, and each time they turned away aghast that a street bum should be smiling at them. No one noticed when the old man in the dingy clothes sat down on at the bus stop, except for the woman he sat next to who stood, and walked to the other end of the bench. He walked on, and found himself inside a drugstore, not that he needed anything in the drugstore but someone in the drugstore needed the gift he had to give.
The small boy sat in a high wheel chair, a mass of twisted limbs and jerky movements that caused his little body shudder. Today was a bad day, and the boy looked up at his mother. She smiled down at him, and turned back to the pharmacist. The old man approached the boy’s chair, and smiled at him. The boy smiled back, his small face twisting with the effort. The old man reached out and grasped his hand, and turned away. No one saw the old man leave and only knew he was gone. Gone from cold distant stares, and people who refused to acknowledge his presence, save but for one small boy confined to a wheel chair. He was going, and as he went he heard the mother’s screams as she turned back to her stricken child now standing upright before her. He could not help but linger long enough to hear the small boy assure his mother, “Do not cry, mother. It was an angel.”