This anecdote has its years, but it is real; the name of the protagonist is also authentic (I have his permission). It is about a brief and symbolic event that happened to a Chilean friend; friend and fellow student at the Law School.
I remember we were in exam time and Christmas was just a few weeks away. And with this I think I have given enough context.
John left home late to take an oral exam with a famously demanding professor. He ran in his dark suit, blue tie and hard shoes to the Pedro de Valdivia subway station, gasped down the stairs, crossed through the crowd, swiped the card through the validator, and pip, pip, lHe had no balance left! She hurriedly checked her wallet: no cash. He reached for his debit card, but remembered that his parents had not yet deposited his allowance. He left the line with his hands on his head and his face pale, terrified at the thought that the teacher might fail him for non-attendance; what to do?
Suddenly, someone tapped him on the shoulder. John turned and found the lady who usually sits on the top step of the stairs to beg for alms. She was smiling and had opened her hand. To ask him for something? No, on the contrary: to offer her a 500 peso coin. "So you can buy your ticket," he said. My friend was very surprised, he tried to resist the help, they struggled a little: no, yes, no, yes; and such was his distress that he ended up accepting.
My colleague made it to the exam on time and got a reasonable grade. The next day, when he went down to the station, he noticed the lady who had helped him and returned the coin; along with a chocolate, of course, and they chatted for a while.
After a few weeks, the beggar stopped appearing. Several years have passed since then; now John is a prestigious lawyer and goes down to the subway with more elegant suits and more comfortable shoes than the ones he used to wear to give oral exams in college, but always, before crossing the turnstile, he stops for a moment to check if that good woman who once helped him might be sitting in some corner of the station, smiling at him.