Ken and I witnessed first hand just how wonderfully kind people can be today. We needed to go to New York City to the Japanese Consulate to get a few very complicated papers approved and signed for Ken's sister. As many of you know, Ken has Parkinson's Disease and it is not easy for him to get from the dining room chair to the stairs, let alone to travel from our house to New York City and back. But Ken is also one heck of an amazing man and it would take a lot to keep him from doing what his sister requested. So…..
We got up early this morning, got all dressed up, packed the backpack with all the important documents including our original deed for the house, green card, passports, driver's license, tax bills, utility bill, etc. We loaded the wheelchair in the car and drove to 30th Street Station. Got there, got to the train, got on the train and got to New York without a hitch.
Getting off the train and through Penn Station was a little hairy, but we made that too with everyone we met along the way holding doors, holding elbows, being kind. We found the taxi stand with about a million people ahead of us in line and the policeman guiding traffic put us at the head of the line and into a taxi driven by the nicest taxi driver from some African country who made sure we got to the front door of the Japanese Consulate in loads of time. He pulled the wheelchair out of the back of the taxi, bade us farewell, and we were still fine and on time at the consulate.
We got up to the 19th Floor of the big New York Building and got to the Japanese Consulates office and thankfully we were one of only a few clients. Ken explained to the man in the window that we needed all kinds of documents that needed all kinds of long paperwork to be filled out. The man in the window said in Japanese we needed more information than we had and maybe we needed to call Ken's sister in Tokyo. Well at this time it would be about 1:00 in the morning Tokyo time and we were sure Ken's sister would not pick up the phone and we didn't have international calling on our cell phones. So the man in the window talked to his boss and said, let me fill out all the paper work for you and maybe we can fudge a little here and there and it should work. Oh what a dream boat he was. He filled it all out, put Ken's thumb print on all the documents and then recommended a very nice expensive Japanese Sushi restaurant around the corner where we could enjoy lunch.
We made it down the 19 floors and back out into the big old New York City. The sushi restaurant was completely booked, but the nice man at the door suggested another place around the corner which was 10,000 times less expensive, had outdoor seating and could not have been more fun. After lunch we wheeled ourselves over to Starbucks and had a wonderful cappuccino and cafe mocha. Ken had to use the men's room and he was a bit worn out at this point and so very difficult to get up out of the wheel chair. But a wonderfully kind, funny man from Portugal asked if he could help and he took care of Ken the whole time in the bathroom. Waited for him and brought him back out to me. He told us he was a diamond merchant and that Ken should buy me a diamond. Loved that man.
We then got ourselves outside the Starbucks and hailed a taxi. The taxi pulled up but there was a big puddle in front. Ken had real trouble getting out of the wheel chair, so a whole host of angels surrounded us. One guy helping Ken out of the chair and another woman helping me get the chair in the back of the taxi. The taxi driver too could not have been kinder when we got back to Penn Station. He got the wheel chair out of the taxi, helped Ken get into it, patted me on the back and we were on our way to the train with the needed documents in hand, having had a great sushi lunch and a little coffee and orange, cranberry scone at Starbucks.
When we got to the gate at Penn Station, two of the kindest red caps led us to the elevator down to the train, put Ken on the train, helped me with the wheel chair. Two ladies moved from their seats to give us good seats on the train and we got back to Philadephia with totally no problem. Then back in our car, drove home with no traffic on the Schuykill Expressway. Our cats Tango and Canolli were here waiting for us and Yumiko was out having a great time with friends signing senior yearbooks.
Life is oh so good. So good it makes me teary.