For the last few months, the bodega has hosted an older man who sits on a stool beside the freezer and monitors activity. He wears sunglasses and a hat, and his accent suggests he is from the islands, maybe Jamaica. He lives above the store (I'm told) and is in the bodega almost every time I visit. We fist-bump and agree it's a good day to be alive. We make a big deal of my visit, along with the man usually on duty when I show up, and I love the few minutes I'm there. It's the anti-urban-anonymity experience, for me.
Today, the man was celebratory. He is always upbeat but he was off his stool. He leaned into me and told me his birthday was Saturday and he had just moments ago learned from the city that he is being awarded an apartment. So excited!
So excited, in fact, that he bought me the above m&ms. I had already bought mine, so this was a pure burst of joy and generosity, from someone far less employed than I am. A stranger.