She felt uneasy as she looked down at the crumbled and stained note that he had given her. She knew that something was wrong. He had given her the note in a rush and he was acting differently. What was going on?
When she slowly unfolded the yellow, crumbled paper, her eyes grew wide. She couldn’t believe what it said. She was beside herself thinking about how close she had gotten to him every day on her way to work and how she had offered him something to eat. Her heart was thumping in her chest and she desperately needed a seat. Her view on reality was distorted.
Mary Aldrin lived in New York for her entire life, and she loved her city. Many people saw New York as a dirty, dangerous place with a growing homeless problem, but to Mary, it was paradise.
In an attempt to show others that New York wasn’t that bad, Mary did everything in her power to help others out, especially those less fortunate than her. But little did she know her efforts would be wasted on the next person she tried to help.
Mary had a degree in hospitality and owned her own bakery, which she adored. She made enough money to support herself and her daughter, Dominique. But things were hard after the father of her child left the picture.
Mary and her ex-husband had gotten a divorce shortly after Dominique was born. He paid child support, but it wasn’t even enough to pay for Dominique’s schooling. But Mary had no idea that someone very important would enter her world very soon.
Although things had been tough, Mary remained optimistic. She knew she had it easier than a lot of other people in her city. But in recent days, she had been noticing a man staring at her whenever she would walk past him in the street. This seemed to be happening daily.
She could tell that he was homeless, but despite that, he would smile a friendly smile at her every time they would cross paths. There was a familiar spark in his eyes, it was like he remained hopeful despite the situation he was in. She knew that if he could stay optimistic, she could too. But she had no clue who this man really was.
Every day, Mary would pass the man while she walked to work, so she decided to talk to him. He was friendly, but he never said much. But she felt a sense of familiarity in him.
It was his face that felt so familiar to her. But she was wrong. If only she had trusted her gut instinct about where she knew him from.
One morning, Mary decided to pack an extra lunch for the day. One for Dominque and one for the man on the side of the street. The lunch wasn’t fancy, she simply added a healthy salad roll with a slice of cheese.
She felt good knowing that what she was going to help someone else. But once she learned the truth, she wished she had never offered him the lunch.
When she saw him on the street, she offered him the lunch bag. He said nothing as he shook his head and waved it away. Why would he not accept her kind gesture?
She didn’t give it much thought for the rest of the day. If only she had known why he refused the lunch.
On this morning, Mary was running late, so she decided to rush. When she got to where the man usually sat, she noticed something different about him.
He looked upset, so much so that it looked like her might burst into tears at any moment. What was wrong? That’s when she noticed the paper in his hand.
He was clearly distracted as his eyes moved rapidly, looking around himself. Were they back? He was being watched. But what was really going on?
She walked up to him to ask him what was wrong, but he stayed silent. He handed her the crumpled piece of paper with a short nod. Something was up, but the paper had the answers she needed.
She didn’t want to read it while she was at work, so she placed it in her handbag for when she was done with work. But she found herself glancing at her bag ever so often.
She was curious. But once she got home, she quickly opened the paper to read what he had said. What was on the paper 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!
Gere was actually on set being filmed for his role as a homeless man that’s trying to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.