I’m An American

I’d just left a medical appointment when I saw a young woman pushing a stroller in the rain. She was near a bus stop, but something made me stop. Maybe it was her bright African dress setting off, her lovely deep black skin, or the cute toddler she pushed, or my memories of Africa. I rolled down the window, “Do you have far to go?”

She quickly handed me a piece of wet paper with the name of a clinic and a simple map. It was five miles away, with a bus change. “Have go here. Have boy there 8:45.” It was 8:40.

“I’ll take you.” We loaded the stroller in the tiny back space of our Geo Trakker. I called the office to tell them she would be late for the appointment, put it on speaker so she could say her name, and they assured her she could be late.

During the drive we talked. Her English was quite good. She is a refugee from South Sudan, via a camp in Kenya.

I said, “Welcome to America. I am happy you are here.”

“You are very kind,” she said.

“I’m an American,” I said.

I’m old enough to enjoy looking at young women without guilt, and she was the most beautiful I’ve seen in a very long time. Her son was cute, animated and had curious bright eyes. My rainy day turned sunny.

“God bless you,” she said, ” He will reward you.”

I don’t believe in a god who protects or punishes, but I will treasure that blessing for a very long time.