I never got a chance to properly thank you for helping me out on the Q46 today. It was embarrassing enough that I had to sprint (in heels) after the bus, making the driver pull over and wait for me, but I felt even more pathetic when I couldn’t find my Metrocard. It was nice of you to give me the last of your change for my fare. But what I appreciated most was when you stood up and demanded that others come forward to pay the rest.
I knew you were a nice guy, but I didn’t expect you to take it upon yourself to collect five more quarters on my behalf from a crowd of rush-hour commuters. If I wasn’t wedged between them and was capable of moving, I would have given you my Starbucks card or at least shaken your hand.
It’s funny that I’m writing to you on Facebook, but I don’t trust the US Postal Service. I was watching NY1 this morning and they did a story encouraging members of the public to go to the post offices and “adopt” a kid’s letter to Santa. All someone has to do is show photo ID, and he or she can respond to some kid’s letter which is addressed to YOU. Seeing as I don’t want a total stranger replying to my letter, nor do I want the general public to know I still write to you, I thought this would be a better idea.
Considering I haven’t been all that bad this year you might expect me to have a pretty long list. It’s not. Actually, I don’t even have a list. It’s not that I don’t want anything; it’s just that I don’t want anything that comes from your shop. No offense, but I’ve kind of grown out of “things.” I was thinking that instead of getting me a new iPod or clothes, maybe you could make Robert a new leg?
He lives within a three-block radius of 72nd St and Amsterdam Ave. You won’t be able to find him at a shelter because he isn’t safe at them anymore. He told me he was tired of being assaulted by other homeless people. People who think it’s funny to hide an amputee’s artificial limb. I watched Robert put on his left leg and it’s in rough shape. He could barely get in on. Maybe that’s because people kept hogging the sidewalk, unaware that someone was trying to mobilize himself. Gosh, he’s had it for over 15 years and seven of them have been spent on the street so it’s a little rusty.
You may remember him as the Upper West Side Irishman who had a thing for motorbikes. In the early ‘90s you gave him a helmet to go with his Kawasaki. He appreciated it, but it didn’t do him much good when he got clipped by a truck on the George Washington Bridge. Sure, he misses his left leg, but what he misses more is the chance to ride. After the accident he found work as a maintenance man on a ship at Pier 40 where he eventually worked his way up to a foreman position. His last day as foreman was September 11, 2001.
Because he knew how to cut steel he took his crew down to help at the North Tower soon after the first plane hit. Then the South Tower was hit, and the both of them collapsed. Even though he only had one good leg at the time, he made it out. His crew, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky.
Goodbye crew, goodbye job, hello cancer.
A lot of people like Robert who worked at Ground Zero got cancer from inhaling the carcinogenic debris in the dust cloud. But I’m sure you already knew that. I know you don’t make cures for cancer at the North Pole—that’s why I’m asking for a prosthetic leg. It doesn’t have to be custom or anything because I don’t have measurements (he’s lost a lot of weight since you’ve seen him last), just a decent left leg that is maybe adjustable so he can choose the length. The foot can be any reasonable size I suppose. It’s not like he has shoes anymore anyway.
So, even though they’re the go-to gift for college girls, don’t get me UGGS. Besides not liking how they look, I don’t need another pair of shoes when there are people out there who have none. I really don’t need anything. Still, I don’t want to put you out of a job and add to the current high rate of unemployment. So, I’m asking you to make Robert a new leg. That’s all.
Oh yeah, thanks for reading this.
Thanks for the $.75 you contributed toward my bus fare.
Thanks for tracking down the other $1.25 I needed.
And finally, thanks for the glow-in-the-dark Barbie tent I got in 1996. It kept me occupied while my eating Cabbage Patch Kid was malfunctioning.