The Kindness of Strangers

I have met the most interesting people in the most unlikely places. My favourite random meeting was with Elise, a Texan of Puerto Rican heritage living in NYC. We were sitting next to each other on a Dallas-JFK flight in January 2012. Out of the corner of my eye I could appreciate that she was around my age and reading what looked like a thesis or dissertation. Just peeking out below the seat in front of her were some really kick-ass shoes. As the plane came in to land, she turned to me and said, "Hey, I love your boots, I’ve been admiring them this whole flight!", and naturally, thus began our friendship. 

She was so kind and generous: she shared (and paid for!) a cab with me to Brooklyn, and then helped me navigate the subway map so that I could find my way to Times Square. We hung out a few times while I was in NYC, sharing and comparing thoughts and opinions on immigration, Latin America, gay marriage, travel, exploration, language... With no common background and no preconceptions, it felt like the best kind of first date, where you become your most charming and eloquent, and everything that person says is new and interesting.