It was snowing, gray and cold, and nothing unusual for this season in Boston. I looked out the revolving glass door while I was pulling my credit card out of my wallet. "How far is Harvard?" I asked the girl as she printed my receipt.
"Oh, it's just about 15 minutes away." She raised her head and added, "That's if you can get a car."
That didn't sound so promising! And outside of the door, I could hardly see the boundaries of the sky and streets; it was all white. I took a glance at my phone. My class was going to start in one hour, and I still needed to get registered.
"Can I walk there?" I might have sounded a bit desperate.
She looked at me thinking I must be from the moon. Nobody would walk that far, and with a suitcase, and in a snow storm!
"Well, go talk to the concierge. If he can't help you, nobody here can," she said.
Just as I picked up my backpack and was ready to pull my suitcase to walk to the door, a strong and bony hand grabbed the suitcase, and I heard a deep but gentle voice say, "Where would you like to go, ma'am?"
He didn't say anything and continued walking. He pushed the revolving door, pointing at me to get in. I hesitated for a second, as I already felt the freezing cold from outside and was totally unsure if I wanted to wait in the cold before there was any sign of a taxi.
He didn't wait for me. He quickly stepped into the door with my suitcase and was soon outside. He looked to the white street in a flash and waved for me to hurry up, while pushing the door to spin again.
Brrrrrr... It was freezing, I started rubbing my hands and stomping my feet as soon as I stood on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. And then! I saw a big red truck turning right and pulling up the driveway. The back of the truck was fully covered; It looked steady and spectacular in the snow! I had no reason to believe it was for me. Perplexed, I looked at him carefully for the first time. What a handsome and kind face: big dark eyes, dark skin, strong eyebrows, and a warm smile.
He stared back at me and said, "How come you're going to Harvard? You are too pretty to go to Harvard. You should've been done with your studies already, right?"
I bursted out laughing, "I have never heard that one is too pretty to go to Harvard. You mean I am too old to go to Harvard, right? How rude you are to a lady!"
Unexpectedly, my shoulders felt a big hug from this tall man, and I felt warm. He had on a nice warm winter coat.
"I didn't say that! You ARE pretty. And you are funny too, ma'am."
I must say, he totally mellowed me out. It was reminiscent of some distant romance, and I wasn't sure what to do next. I briskly hugged him back and felt somewhat relieved when I heard a teasing voice from the truck driver who was waiting patiently, "Hey buddy, your girlfriend, is she leaving or not?"
He let go of my shoulders. He lifted my suitcase, put into the back section of the truck, opened the front door, and gave me his hand to help me in.
Quickly uttering a hi to his friend, he turned to me and said, "Pay him anything you'd like, ma'am. He is my friend."
My seat was a bit cold, the snow out there was getting heavier and heavier, the windshield wipers are swinging like crazy, and I was still stunned and captivated by this incredible and random act of kindness, the charm, the flirtation, ...
I wanted to say something, but I could see the driver was winking to the concierge and ready to go.
The man outside signaled me to lower the window, and leaned his head forward. "Hey, are you from the West Coast?"
He must be guessing this because I was visibly freezing.
"I am from China."
I could sense a bit of hesitation in his voice. "You should move here.... Because this is where all the money is made."
Before I could respond, the driver stepped on the gas pedal. The truck started moving.
All of a sudden I remembered something that I thought was important. So I lowered the window and yelled back to him with a big smiley face, into the snow and against the wind:
"Sir... Happy Valentine's Day!"
2017.2.12 - 13，Boston
(English draft was slightly edited by my daughter Anna Gloor. Anna loved the story. She is a fantastic copy editor!)