I sat there with soaking wet purple tennis shoes. It was quarter past eight on a stormy Friday morning.
I sat sideways, waiting for my coffee to cool so I could drink without scalding my tongue. Joe read the news on his phone and I watched the crowd.
In the heart of the city, inside a bustling McDonalds in the ever busy Union Station, I sat there, watching and waiting. Waiting for my coffee to cool. Waiting for my shoes to dry. Waiting until it was time to go.
As I watched, I saw him watching too. He stood just outside the entrance, pausing for a moment, taking it all in, observing how everyone else did it. A little more confident, he walked in and stood to the side of the queue. Watching. Reading the menu. Seeing how others stepped up and ordered; where they waited for their food.
While he watched, I studied him. His weather-worn, wrinkled, middle-aged face. His very full, very long beard. The soft brown hair curling just so under his broad-brimmed black hat. His plain black clothes gave him away as Amish.
And I wondered. How many times in his life has he eaten in a restaurant? In a McDonalds? What will he order? Will he like it? What does he think?
I watched anxiously, holding my breath, as he set his satchel on the ground behind him while he stepped forward to pick up his food. I could breathe again once I realized no one would take advantage of his naivety and run off with his bag while his back was turned.
As he made his way to the empty table behind us, there it was; a smile shared. A warm moment of silent friendship between a middle-aged Amish man and a young woman with wet purple tennis shoes.