This weekend I was in a room full of love and celebration, and the next day a room full of judgment and excess.
I belonged in both rooms.
It was a weekend of bipartisanship, literally.
I sat in awe that I had come so far. A little Puerto Rican girl from The Bronx was seated in the room where it happened.
That same weekend, I was shopping at a local department store and in front of me was a little old lady who thought the jacket she was buying was $16.99, when in fact it was $29.99. She didn’t have enough, and she walked away from the jacket. She apologized to the cashier and walked out of the store. As she turned away, I told the cashier, “give me that jacket I’m taking it,” she immediately said, “Do you want to check to see if it’s your size?” I say, “no, it’s not for me, it’s for the lady. Please hurry, I need to catch her”. I immediately ran out of the door to give her the jacket that I could afford to buy, but she was gone. I walked up and down the parking lot, checking every car. Walked over to another store, drove around the entire strip mall and nothing, she was gone. It was as if she had dissolved into the atmosphere. I was stunned. There was no way she could have outrun me! Where did she go?
I asked God to please let me see her during my drive home.
She was gone.
I decided to keep the light-weight lavender jacket. It’s a reminder that no matter where life takes you, pay it forward.
Pay your blessings forward.
No matter how far you come in your life experience, there is always something you can pay forward. After spending a fabulous weekend among political actors and community activists and even a former sitting President. I decided that no matter where life takes me, I will always remember to give a hand up to anyone that is in need.
You see I was once that person that couldn’t afford that jacket. I couldn’t afford a meal. I couldn’t afford to go to work because I couldn’t afford a token to take the train.
The jacket will be a reminder that I am blessed. It was a test to see if I was aware enough of my blessed life, and was I willing to share it with a total stranger, I was.
When you are living your best life, remember there is someone who is not.
-Annette Ortiz Mata