She frowned down at the the ball of paper in the palm of her hand. It was crumpled from him giving it to her in a rush. He wasn’t himself and she could tell that something was up.
She slowly opened the letter, her eyes growing wide as she read what was written on the yellow paper. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She couldn’t believe that she had gotten so close to him every day and that she had offered him something to eat. Her heart was pounding and she desperately needed to sit down. Everything felt unreal for her.
Mary Aldrin was a New York-born and raised. She knew that many people didn’t see the city the way she did. Many saw it as a dirty, dangerous place with a growing homeless problem.
But Mary did everything she could to help out others in need to show them that this city wasn’t all that bad, at least not to her. But the next person she would try to help would only be wasted on, she just didn’t know it yet.
She worked in hospitality and owned her very own bakery. It was enough to make ends meet and to support her child – Dominique. But with her daughter’s father out of the picture, it wasn’t always easy.
They had divorced right after she was born and even though the child support cheques came in, she found they didn’t even cover her daughter’s education. But she had no idea that someone important would appear in her life without warning.
A Good Outlook
Mary still kept a good attitude even with the hardships in her life. She knew a lot of people in the city had it worse than her. Recently she noticed a man staring at her as she walked past him every day.
He was clearly homeless but smiled at her through the dirt on his face. She could see a familiar spark in his eyes. Like he had hope even in his position. How could she stay pessimistic when he wasn’t? But she had no idea just who this man really was.
Trying To Talk
Mary walked to walk every day and decided to talk to the man. He seemed friendly enough, but not very talkative. There was a quality about him though, like the kind that she knew him from somewhere.
She chalked it up to his friendly face, which always felt familiar. But she was wrong. If only knew that she should have trusted her gut instinct about where she had seen him before.
An Extra Lunch
Mary knew what she had to do – she decided to pack an extra lunch for the day. One was for her daughter, and one was for the man. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a healthy salad roll with a slice of cheese.
She smiled to herself thinking she was doing the right thing. But she wished she hadn’t tried giving him the lunch bag once she learned the truth about his identity.
Trying To Give It To Him
She spotted him on her way to work and offered him the lunch bag. But without a word, he waved it away. Did he not want to accept this kind gesture?
She didn’t think too much of it while she lay in bed that night. But if only she knew the real reason why he didn’t accept her kind gesture.
This morning Mary was running late for work so she was moving at a busier pace than usual. But as she got to the corner where she saw the cheerful homeless man every day she noticed something different.
He looked gravely concerned about something, almost on the verge of tears. What had happened? Then she saw a scrap of paper in his hand.
He seemed distracted, he was looking around. Were they back again? It was clear that he was being watched, but what was the truth behind it all?
She approached him to ask if he was alright but he wouldn’t say a word. All he did was hand her a crumpled piece of paper and nod. Something clearly wasn’t right and the piece of paper held the answers.
The Rest Of The Day
Mary didn’t want to read the note while she was at work. But the entire day she couldn’t help but look down at her handbag where it was.
Questions raced through her mind. As soon as she got home after work she put her things down and pulled out the piece of paper. But what was written on it would turn her world upside down.
She felt her hands shake as she looked at the note in her hand. What could he have written inside a scrap of paper before handing it to her?
She had only been nice to him, were there things he was hiding that he couldn’t say out loud? Was he being watched?
It turns out that the homeless man was actually Richard Gere! The note explained that he was shooting his new movie and that’s why he was dressed up as a homeless person.
She had no idea that the sweet man she walked past every day and even offered food was worth millions!
Time Out Of Mind
Gere was actually on set being filmed for his role as a homeless man that’s trying his fix his relationship with his daughter. The movie is called Time Out of Mind and is an American Drama.
His get-up must have been very convincing if it fooled Mary and probably many other New Yorkers.
Mary went back to visit Gere after realizing who he really was. She understood that he couldn’t talk much to her because they must have been filming him for the movie. It was now obvious that he didn’t want to waste her precious food on him when he already had so much money.
She just smiled at him and to tell her he knew she knew she gave her a wink back. He had fooled many New Yorkers, but he let her in on the secret because of her kindness.
Mary felt touched and took it to heart. She knew that no one else would have an experience like that, especially with such a well-known actor! And on the set of his movie as well! She would still see him every time she walked to walk until one day he was gone. Presumably, they had gotten enough shots. She still thinks of him when she walks past that corner every day, with a smile on her face.
But this wasn’t the first case of mistaken identity, as a woman nemed Traci Bamm found out…
When the homeless man revealed who he really was, her boss’ face twisted in horror. She watched the smug sneer slide right off his face as the realization dawned on him.
He hadn’t just lost his reputation, he had lost everything. And he knew it. She had never dreamed that a simple act of kindness would have so many consequences.
Traci Bamm from California had big dreams, but they would have to wait.
Working long shifts as a waitress was just enough to pay the bills, and she barely had enough time to attend her nighttime classes. Still, today she was thankful for what she had. After all, her situation could be a lot worse.
A Sad Situation
Traci noticed a homeless man who had been sitting outside the restaurant she worked at. He’d been there a few days now, and seeing him broke her heart.
Maybe it was the way he shared his food with the stray cats and dogs in the alleyway… or the way he always smiled and greeted her when she walked past. There was something about him that touched her deeply. She wanted to help, but her boss would try to put a stop to that.
Michelin Star Restaurant
Traci worked as a waitress at one of California’s most prestigious restaurants. The chef had two Michelin Stars under his belt, and he was determined to keep them.
He was also the owner. Although his food was excellent, he had an inflated ego, refused to delegate, and micromanaged his staff with an iron fist. He was the stuff of nightmares. As long as Traci stayed out his way, it all suited her just fine.
She was studying to be a chef. Although she loved working around food, her job was a means to an end – the experience she was getting in the Michelin Star restaurant was invaluable.
But, when she saw the homeless man who had taken up residence outside, working in such a high-end restaurant was also a major source of guilt for Traci.
The restaurant was booming. Rich diners would arrive dressed to the nines, and they had no qualms about dropping hundreds of dollars for the most lavish meals.
Traci couldn’t bear the thought that, while the rich dined out and ordered Champagne, a homeless man slept just a few feet away on the street with an empty belly. She had to do something.
Life On The Streets
At first glance, the homeless man looked like any other man who had fallen on hard times. But, Traci noticed that he always greeted everyone who passed with a smile and tried to engage with them.
The strange thing was, he didn’t ask anyone for money, a job, food, or clothes – he genuinely looked like he just wanted to speak to somebody. One day, Traci couldn’t ignore her feelings anymore.
Coming Up With A Plan
More than anything else, Traci wanted to help the homeless man. But she had no money to give him – all of it went to her studies and her rent.
Since she made and ate most of her meals at the restaurant (a perk of her job), she didn’t even have extra food to give him. But she knew what she wanted to do. The only problem was her boss – who wouldn’t even permit her to give him food scraps. He could never find out.
A Labor Of Love
Traci wanted her kind gesture to be a labor of love. She couldn’t give him money, but there was one thing that only she could do for him.
Since she was an aspiring chef, it made sense to put her skills to use and show the homeless man that someone cared enough to make him a meal. Getting the ingredients would be the risky part.
Taking A Huge Risk
Traci planned on borrowing a few ingredients from the restaurant’s stores and replacing them when she got her paycheck. She wanted the homeless man to taste something luxurious… something he had never tasted before.
If she was caught stealing before she could replace what she’d taken, she could be fired or arrested. Her boss wouldn’t even think twice. But now that the idea was firmly in her head, there was no going back.
Traci made sure her boss was preoccupied with a busy lunch service before she enacted her plan. She could hear the frantic clattering of pots and pans as he barked orders and swore at his sous chef. It was now or never.
She snuck into the pantry and selected two black truffles, a handful of fresh chanterelle mushrooms, eggs, and a bottle of Marcassin Chardonnay. She’d probably have to pick up a few more shifts so she could afford to replace them, but it would be worth it. Then, she heard her boss’ voice.
Traci’s heart began to pound out of her chest. Her boss was right outside and she couldn’t escape. If he saw what she had it would all be over.
She wasn’t even allowed to be in here. She prepared for the worst – she’d be screamed at, fired on the spot, and possibly hauled to jail for stealing. She was trapped.
Traci’s first instinct was to tuck her ill-gotten goods into her pockets and apron, but the bottle wouldn’t fit. The neck hung out, accusingly.
Her eyes darted around, looking for somewhere to hide if her boss came in. She tried not to make a sound as she listened to his heavy footsteps. When she heard him walk away, she almost cried with relief. When she was sure he was gone, she dashed out the door.
Cooking From Her Heart
Traci hid the expensive ingredients in a bag in her locker for the duration of her shift. When it was finally over, she couldn’t get out of the restaurant fast enough.
As she lovingly fried the chanterelle mushrooms and kneaded the pasta dough in her apartment, she couldn’t stop thinking about what the homeless man’s face would look like when she presented him with the meal. Little did she know, the man hadn’t been entirely truthful to her.
Delivering The Meal
Traci plated up the homemade pasta and shaved the black truffles on top. She got out a crystal wineglass and packed everything neatly in a basket. Tonight, the homeless man would eat like a king.
Her heart fluttered as she rounded the corner, but she was relieved to see that the man was still there.