On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I traveled by public bus to New York City to celebrate a nephew’s birthday. While standing in an outdoor line awaiting the bus, I struck up a conversation with the young lady standing behind me. She was the mother of a six year old and a Head Start teacher with a degree in elementary education anxious to secure a job in a public school. Ironically, her place of work was in the same city from which I had retired as a public school educator and administrator. Finding a common ground with a complete stranger is a phenomenon that always tickles me. This tiny bit of commonality became the spring board of an extended exchange.
When the bus arrived, we entered together, but soon separated as only single seats remained. The young lady waited for me in the terminal. She asked if she might have my telephone number in order to discuss what she needed to do to become certified to teach in the public schools in our state. Rules and regulations regarding state certification in almost any field change over the years. I had been retired for more than several years. However, I knew of someone who had applied for alternate route certification. I gave the young lady my telephone number and promised to find out some web-sites and other kinds of information that might help her. I hope that she calls me. It is not often that one has an opportunity to help a perfect stranger. I’m glad that she had the courage to ask.