What brought me back was the sudden absence of rain on my head. I turned to my left and found myself face to face with a man maybe a few years older than my dad, who had quietly stepped up beside me to share his umbrella.
"Didn't want you to have to get wet," he shrugged and smiled. We chatted about his job for a minute, when a coworker of his joined us at the corner with an incredulous look.
"Hey Mike," Gary said cheerfully.
"Oh, hey man." Mike was smiling the genial this is all in good fun, but actually everything I'm saying is true smile. "What is this guy doing?" he laughed to me with a nod. "He's sure not this friendly at the office!"
Then the light finally changed and Gary and I bumbled across the street to the platform.
The thing is, I think Mike was probably right. Some people are more kind at work, and some people are more kind at home, and I think it takes a real gem of character to be very kind all the time. I'd like to become that person, eventually. Yet in the meantime, I like the idea that all of us are very kind to someone, or in some circumstances. We all have people to whom we are good. The fact that Gary was a grump at work did not lessen my gratitude, because he got half his torso soaked in order to provide shelter to me, my laptop, and my favorite booties.
Really, this is a very small story. Strangers are nice all the time; I try to be nice to strangers. But it was fun to feel glad that I get to live in a world with Garys in it. And that giant rainstorms bring out the best in us.