7: The Chance Encounter

7: The Chance Encounter

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

The Chance Encounter

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.

~Albert Einstein

This past summer I sat next to a lovely eighty-something-year-old widow on a subway ride to my mom’s place in Brooklyn. We had an inspiring conversation. I then asked her name. It was Beverly, which happened to be my mother-in-law’s name as well as the name of my brother’s mother-in-law.

I asked where in Brooklyn she lived. “By the Botanical Gardens,” she said. Turns out Beverly lived one block from where I grew up! She asked where my mom now lived. “Trump Village,” I said. That was where she had lived for thirty years!

I told her my mom also spends five months each year in Florida. “Where in Florida?” Beverly asked. I told her Pembroke Pines. Beverly also spends her winters every year in Pembroke Pines!

“Where in Pembroke Pines?” she asked. Turns out that my mom and Beverly both live in the same sprawling retirement community during the winter—Century Village!

So today, my mom and her caregiver, June, sat by the pool at her place in Florida. A woman came up to them, thinking my mom was someone else entirely. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said, somewhat embarrassed. “I haven’t seen you around here before. Are you new here?”

June explained that my mom has spent many winters there but lives in Brooklyn the rest of the year. “Where in Brooklyn?” the woman asked. When told Trump Village, the woman’s eyes bulged.

“By any chance, does she have a son named Gary?”

June was dumbfounded. “Yes, how in the world did you know that?” she asked.

The woman couldn’t stop laughing.

“I sat next to him on a subway ride in New York City last summer!”

June’s mouth agape, she exclaimed, “Oh my! Is your name Beverly, by any chance?” The woman nodded. June was flabbergasted. “Gary had told me that story about your conversation on the train that day! He said he was sure we would somehow run into each other! Oh my God!”

Yep. That’s all I could say when June told me about what happened. Oh my God.

~Gary Stein

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