The image appears dark. The picture is backlit, but to me it is special. It shows how a simple act of kindness can go a long way. Kindness gives me this warm feeling inside from the thought that someone cares. What may be a small gesture for a giver can mean a lot to the receiver.
Here’s the story. I’ve always made the mistake of assuming that it takes time for Uber to arrive. So as I charged my phone on the second floor of the 7-story Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, I thought I’d then request for a ride-share car to take me back to the hotel. Of course, a driver two-minutes away responded to my call.
I unplugged the phone and rushed to the front door. Now outside, the urge to take a selfie overwhelmed me. The huge glass windows on each side of the entrance, looked like a Cartier display window. What could be more Warhol than a storefront for a museum facade?
It was nine o’clock in the evening, and I had just enjoyed a quick run-through of Warhol’s creations on each, except one, of the seven floors of the museum. Grateful that I got there in time for the only night of the week it stayed open till 10 pm; I still had mixed feelings. Earlier I left the fancy garden opening party of the creative non-fiction writing conference I came to Pittsburgh to attend. But to be at there, I rushed without first making a stop at the hotel. So I lugged the conference materials, my clunky laptop, tote bag and all as I savored Warhol’s genius.
Even worse, I had to excuse myself from a fabulous networking conversation at the party. And although famished, I could not take a single bite out of the sumptuous spread prepared by the conference host, Point Park University. Instead, I focused on animating my elevator speech in between big gulps of red wine and deep inhales. By some stroke of luck, I found myself sharing a coffee (or cocktail) table with two pretty literary agents.
Being broke, I did not sign-up to speak one-on-one with a literary agent before coming to this conference. It would have cost me $45. Suddenly I was in the presence of two agents willing to listen. I pushed my luck. But Andy Warhol’s stenciled celebrity art also kept calling my name. I could barely hear myself finish the last sentence.
So back to the selfie-moment on the curb outside the museum’s front door – not only was I hungry and a little frustrated, the buzz from the rapid-fire doses of red wine and the excitement triggered the need to pee. Also, the phone battery again threatened to run out. But I stuck to the business of selfie-ing a few seconds more. My delusional attempt to compose an award-winning photo further complicated my short non-extendable selfie stick (aka my arm).
Then from the corner of my eye, I saw these two young, fit, and tall men, both in evening jackets and ties. They walked in and the door shut behind them. Did I mention that a fun reception was going on at the museum, and people were still milling around the front door? Two seconds later, the taller of the two men came back out and offered to take my picture to save me from more embarrassment. All these while Mr. Uber driver waited.
But if my selfie arms were short, my legs weren’t anything to write home about either. Long story short, my tall dashing selfie-savior, in tight shiny blue suit also had a hard time composing the picture. So he knelt, as if to propose marriage, with one knee on the cold Pittsburgh pavement just to take this picture. After hitting the “click” button on my three-generations old i-phone he said, “the picture may be too dark.” That, I thought, was the last thing we should worry about. I got in the car. I am not sure if I even thanked my savior.