Sentimental Ginger Beef

“Who did you order Chinese food from?”

“Queens. Why?”

“This guy doesn’t look like he usually delivers Chinese food.”

“What do you mean?”

“He looks like he owns the place.”

Puzzled, I walked toward our front door and heard the bell ring just before I turned the knob to open it. In front of me, stood a hunched over Chinese man. He could’t have been anywhere less than 80. With one arm extended straight out to me, a bag of food dangling from his hooked fingers, he smiled at me.

“You order food?” He said, more of a statement than a question.

I took a moment to take him in before replying.

“I sure did.” I reached into my pocket for my wallet. “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” I looked at the blue sky above him.

He looked around, as if he hadn’t noticed and smiled at me. This time it was genuine.

“It is.” He said.

“Here ya go.” I handed him $40. “The change is for you.” Then I grabbed my bag of deep fried goodness.

“Thank you.” He replied. Abruptly he turned and started a slow walk away from my house.

This man fascinated me. What was his story? Why was he delivering Chinese food to peoples doors at such an old age and in such nice weather?

I wondered about his love life, and if he had a wife, or ever had a wife. I wondered where his potential sons might live. I wondered if he was happy, and thought about how the only difference between him and I was roughly a billion different, individual moments.

I thought about how we were inherently the same person, if you stripped away our different experiences, age difference and ethnicity.

We’re both human.

I sure hope he had a good day.

That was the most sentimental plate of ginger beef that I’ve had in quite some time.

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