Buenos Aires, like I've come to expect from any big city, is not filled with warm people. In fact, it'd probably rank at one of the worst in the cities I've visited. An example - on multiple occasions, when somebody sneezes and I respond with a "Salud," I get a bewildered glare as a response. 

But the point isn't to rag on the Argentines - it's a big city, and I can't expect Southern hospitality to extend anywhere but the South. 

The point of this story is to highlight one moment of exceptional grace. It was something small, but I haven't been able to shake it. 

This is my last day in Bs As, so I was a bit rushed to get things done and packed for my flight later today. I stopped by the local McDonald's to grab something quick to eat for lunch. After I picked up my order, I went over to the center island to get some napkins. In front of the napkin stand was this 12-year old handicapped boy pulling napkins from the dispenser. As I walked over, he reached over to the straw machine, grasped at a straw (his motor skills weren't great - he was literally crushing the straw as he handed it over to me) and offered it to me with a smile on his face. Now, I haven't had ANY moments of strangers being kind to me this whole trip - and this just floored me. On top of that - he put down the napkins he had grabbed, pulled a napkin from the dispenser, and gave it to me as well. 

Here was this kid - a handicapped kid - exhibiting a warmth and grace that nobody else had extended on this trip so far. I was speechless for a moment, then smiled back with a "Muchas gracias - muy amable!" He flashed me a huge smile, grabbed a few more napkins, and sauntered back to his table with his mother. 

After I ate, I walked past the table on my way out. He was sitting there with his mother (who looked a bit raggedy and tired, I'll be honest) while she was carefully placing the Monopoly pieces they had gotten from their meal on the board. He looked so incredibly happy. 

All I could think about in that moment, was that this mother gave such an unconditional love to her son to the point that he exhibited that same love and grace to a clear extranjero -  warmth and hospitality that was not the norm. 

Kudos to that mother - whose life couldn't have been easy - but has shown patience and love in a way that not many other people do. 

Posted by roy on May 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Add a comment

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