Two scenes at the bus stop on Valentine’s Day

While waiting for the bus today, I saw a Roma woman and her child approach. The girl had a huge bouquet of heart shaped helium balloons, which she carefully held.  She waited happily by the door,  while the mother did her best to convince us to give her change. (it is hard to say no, when you see the poverty in which they exist, and of course, a pregnant woman is hard to say no, too. But a yes leads to more begging, and one doesn’t know where the money lands.)

Next to me, a tourist had a broken conversation with a an older man, who stopped to ask where he was from.  The tourist did his best, which was a scene that  is so familiar to me: a lot of nodding, and body language and repeated use of the few words you know in local language. But then the tourist did the nicest thing. He offered the man some bakery items. He said he had bought too much. The man took them, after some hesitation. Then, they sat there in a pleasant shared silence until the bus arrived.

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