Today, my cousin Mareena and my brother Alex came into the city to hang out and to watch the movie Hancock. It was an interesting movie, but not one I would miss if I never saw it again. Anyway, I went with them to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan as they caught the 9:3pm bus back to Jersey. After I said goodbye to them, I was on my to the subway and saw this man would seemed out of place - even in New York - I just sensed something was up. He was mumbling something when we walked by "Spring fudjei." I asked him to repeat himself and he said "Spring Valley, Spring Valley, New Jersey." He looked Hispanic - but I did not want to assume anything.
It turns out that he was Hispanic and spoke very little English, so I said a prayer and then hoped that I could help the man. He was looking for a bus to Spring Valley, NJ and was walking around the bus terminal trying to get there. He walked over to the NJ Transit automatic ticket machines becuase he saw a bus on. I figured he had done it before, just to be on the safe I began to look at the destinations on the machine and Spring Valley was not one of them. I explained to him that this company was not the right one for him and I offered to help him find the bus company that would. Interestingly he shrugged his shoulders and said ok and he began to follow me.
I tried to ask him questions "De donde Vive?" I got "Spring Valley" and "Where is your family?" again I got "Spring Valley." So I we found an open information booth, was directed to the right bus company, and a ticket was bought. It was a little tricky to explain that the gate his bus was leaving from is 420 and it was leaving at 10:40 and that his ticket had other numbers that had no relation to the first. So we began to walk back to the same gate area where Mareena and Alex left from. In route to the gate, I realized that I formally introduced myself to this man or did I ask him is name. I said, "Me llamo Nader, Como te llama?" He had trouble prouncing my name, but eventually he got close and I said "Si!" The man informed that his name was "Francisco" I proceeded to tell him "Estoy hermano, seminarista, Franciscano." A big smile came upon his face and a sense of relive seemed to go through his body. After that any questioned I asked he responded. Essentially he is a wonderful man from Guatemala who seems to have family in Spring Valley, NJ and in Brooklyn, NY.
Upon arriving at the gate, Francisco did not believe that the bus listed at Gate 420 was going to Spring Valley becuase it had East Brunswick as a final destination. After 2 attempts to explain that he should take that bus, I called Fr. Timothy (who I live with) to help me out. He was like my life-line one-time call for help person. He was able to explain to Francisco to go in this bus. Thankfully there was a kind woman who was also going to Spring Valley who offered to make sure that Francisco got off at her stop. I also explained to Francisco to get off the bus when she does.
I took the time to share this story with you becuase I was very moved by that moment. I did not have to take my cousin and my brother to the Bus Terminal, they have done it before, but something told me I should. I could have decided not to help Francisco becuase he was a strager. I really believe that I was placed there at that exact moment from all eternity as part of God's plan. Francisco was so moved that I helped him - I was so moved that I helped him. To be able to give him comfort using my broken Spanish was an honor and a blessing. Before our goodbye I gave him some extra money, said "Adios", gave him a hug and said "Dios bendiga!"
(Forgive me for any misspellings it is almost midnight)
Adios! Dios bendiga!
Peace be with you!
My name is Nader Ata. I am a Conventual Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of Angels Province, USA. I am a transitional deacon preparing for Priesthood Ordination in the fall.
Seeking to live with Franciscan Joy each and every day!
*All of photos on this blog were taken by me unless noted otherwise. Please ask permission before using them. Thank You!*
*Also I am not the greatest speller or writer in the world, so please let me know if something is misspelled. Thank you!"