I was sitting in the crowded train station with time to waste, waiting on the train to take me home on Christmas Eve. A very pretty, young lady, carrying a full backpack headed for one of the only open seats across the aisle from me next to a rather dirty and disheveled older man.
As she removed her backpack to sit down he glared up at her; she smiled a beautiful bright smile and said to him, “Merry Christmas”.
“I don’t celebrate Christmas”, he barked up at her.
“Yeah? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy on the day that I celebrate Christmas. And I hope the day is merry for you as well.”
“What is there to be merry about”, he moaned, “A bunch of hypocritical religious zealots pretending to be nice to one another while the world goes to hell in a hand basket.”
“Well, at least for that one day, most of us believe the hypocrisy, and even for just a few hours, we practice the morals that our religion tries to instill in us. At least on that one day, for us religious zealots, there is a glimmer of hope that we can save the world from going to hell and, I, for one, believe that is reason to be merry.”
“Terrific! And, what does that get me,” he whimpered.
“Well, what you get is this one time of year, when a twenty-two year old college girl is not afraid to sit next to you; smile at you; and, wish you a Merry Christmas. And, if you just say, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Merry Christmas’ back to her, she just may give you the biggest and best kiss you have ever experienced.”
She stood back up and started to put her backpack back on as he simply stared up at her. Once she was situated and ready to move on towards her train, she stopped; smiled at him again; and, said, “Merry Christmas.”
It seems I was not the only stranger that was witnessing this exchange. All of those around me were perched on the edge of their seats waiting to see what might happen. The old man cracked a little smile. A glimmer came to his eyes, and he said, “Thank you. And, Merry Christmas to you, too.”
The girl leaned down and planted a kiss right on his lips for what seemed like ten minutes. Smiles lit up the faces of all the men, women and children watching this take place. When the girl finally pulled back, the old man was frozen in place with a big ole smile on his face. She adjusted her backpack and started heading towards the tracks. All the men she passed on her way who witnessed this exchange anxiously yelled, “Merry Christmas” as she passed, hoping for a kiss as well.
I looked back at the old man who was still in a dream. Suddenly he caught me looking at him and barked, “What are you staring at?”
I just shook my head back and forth and said, “Merry Christmas”.
“Yeah! Well Merry Christmas to you, too” he shouted.