The Day of Christmas Eve

It was 4 pm in the evening. Sheena had her headphones jammed into her ears. Listening to her favorite Bollywood songs, she walked along 5th Avenue in New York City. The sky was turning grey. It was probably going to snow later that night. Unmindful of the people around her, she walked to the Rockefeller Center to look at the world famous Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree

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As much as she wished she could go home, she couldn’t bring herself to ask her mother to send her the money for an expensive ticket home. Instead, she was going to stay in her apartment and work through the holidays. Just because she couldn’t go home didn’t mean she couldn’t save money to buy things for her mother.

Sheena’s way to US

She was smart enough to get a full scholarship to study Biotechnology at the Manhattan University of Sciences. Everything she needed for college was covered through that, but not her travel expenses. With her mother being the sole breadwinner of the house, she felt guilty asking for money for a ticket home. And there was always Skype, which she used to talk to her mother every day.

However, since the last two days, her mother had been incredibly busy, and they hadn’t been able to talk. Talking to her mother always made Sheena feel better. With this jumble of thoughts on her mind, she walked towards the giant tree. She sat down on a bench opposite the tree, to catch her breath and look at it peacefully. She had been there for a few minutes, when moments later, an old lady sat down next to her.

Not one for making small talk, Sheena politely smiled and continued to remain lost in her music and thoughts. She felt a gentle tap on her shoulder. She turned her head to look towards the old lady. Thinking that she might want to ask something, Sheena removed her headphones.

“Merry Christmas”, the old lady said.

“Merry Christmas to you too”, Sheena responded, hoping to end the conversation.

“Do you have family here?” The old lady clearly wanted to have a conversation.

“No, my family is in India. I am a student here.”

“But aren’t you visiting your family over Christmas?”

“I can’t. The tickets are too expensive.”

“Oh, I’m sorry my dear. I can understand. I just finished a 16-hour shift at the restaurant. Just trying to gather some last minute pay to buy gifts for my grandchildren.”

“Oh. How old are they?” Sheena began thinking about how old she looked and how tired she must be.

“The younger one is 3 and the older one is 5. Both are girls.”

“Would you wait here for five minutes? I will be right back.”

The thought nudged…

Sheena rushed off towards the coffee shop that was a few minutes away. She went in and bought a coffee for the old lady and a box of six donuts. Next to the coffee shop was a toy store. Even though she couldn’t buy anything expensive, she decided to use the money she had saved to buy herself new boots, to buy two dolls.

Christmas Gifts

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She rushed out of the store and ran back to Rockefeller Centre. The old lady was still sitting there. She handed over the coffee, donuts and dolls. The look on the old lady’s face was priceless. The happiness on her face and the tears in her eyes were worth it. The old lady hugged her and thanked her repeatedly, even when Sheena told her it was nothing. She finally got up to walk home.

She rushed out of the store and ran back to Rockefeller Centre. The old lady was still sitting there. She handed over the coffee, donuts and dolls. The look on the old lady’s face was priceless. The happiness on her face and the tears in her eyes were worth it. The old lady hugged her and thanked her repeatedly, even when Sheena told her it was nothing. She finally got up to walk home.

Merry Christmas

There was a spring in her step. She was happy to have done something to brighten up someone else’s day. So what if she wasn’t going home? Wasn’t that what Christmas was all about, the spirit of giving!

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