Recently my wife and ate breakfast at a small diner. Minutes before leaving, I stepped to the lavatory. There I bumped into a man, and we chatted, mostly about the unnatural weather the area was experiencing, so unnatural that many plants had already blossomed twice. I commented that some meteorologists predicted a prolonged period of unseasonable temperatures, and that dreams of white Christmases for some years to come may be just that– dreams.
Finally, I added that astronomers predicted that thousands of years in the future our sun would burn out. To which he responded, “The sun will burn out, no doubt, but not the sun,” I didn’t understand his meaning. Then I realized I should have interpreted his words in this way: “The sun will burn out, no doubt, but not The Son.”
When I returned to the booth where my wife awaited me, the restaurant’s manager approached and said,” Your bill has already been paid.”
“I said your bill has been paid.”
“By the man who was sitting in the booth to your left,” he said, pointing to a now-empty booth.
Earlier, I had glanced at the diner who once occupied the indicated eating space: it was the same man I chatted with in the lavatory.
My benefactor didn’t know it, but he had bequeathed me more than the cost of two breakfasts. He had given me a more positive view of humanity: helping me realize that all men are not knaves, murderers and thieves, as national network newscasts and tabloids would lead one to believe. Some are caring and compassionate, but unlike those who chase fame, the former sometimes seek no recognition for their good deeds.
I left the diner that morning far less cynical than when I arrived…and a far wiser man. Who was the stranger? I may never know. I only know it’s sad that bad guys get most of the publicity while good ones are often ignored.
The ID of the stranger still haunts me. Did he hint at who he was when he spoke of “the sun” and “The Son?” Perhaps in the far future I will meet the gentleman who bought my breakfast that morning, meet him in the by-then discovered ninth or tenth dimension, a happier, more quantum-like domain where goodness is heralded and evil is not.