An aged guitar playing singer entered a New York subway car. Bundled in layers of clothes, wearing a faded, black wool cap and frayed fingerless gloves, he balanced himself with a wide stance and tore into an up-tempo version of the Beatles tune “Let it Be.” The passengers wore their usual blank expressions and avoided any acknowledgment of the musician’s presence, lest they be compelled to give him a token of appreciation. Before reaching the next stop, he walked down the aisle, hat in hand, seeking donations. All ignored him, except for a young woman. When he reached her, she looked up and began fumbling in her purse. She pulled out a handful of bills and, with a heavy accent, explained to him that she was not from here and didn’t understand “the money.” She held out the bills like an open hand of playing cards and extracted a $10 bill, asking him if that was enough.
He gave her the $10 back and withdrew a one. “That’s fine,” he said. “Thank you.”