“Excuse me lady, do you have any spare change?”
This was the first thing he said to me, on 56th street in New York City, right round the corner from Broadway, on a sunny September day.
And when I heard him, I didn’t really hear him. His words were part of the clatter, like a car horn or someone yelling for a cab. They were, you could say, just noise—the kind of nuisance New Yorkers learn to tune out. So I walked right by him, as if he wasn’t there.
But then, just a few yards past him, I stopped.
And then—and I still don’t know why I did this—I came back.
Title: An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-year-old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny
Author: Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
Publisher: Howard Books; November 2011; hardcover and e-book editions
Book description: An Invisible Thread is the true story of the bond between a harried sales executive and an eleven-year-old boy who seemed destined for a life of poverty. It is the heartwarming story of a friendship that has spanned three decades and brought meaning to an over-scheduled professional and hope to a hungry and desperate boy living on the streets.
When Laura Schroff brushed by a young panhandler on a New York City corner one rainy afternoon, something made her stop and turn back. She took the boy Maurice to lunch at the McDonald's across the street that day. And she continued to go back, again and again for the next four years until both of their lives had changed dramatically.
About the authors: Laura Schroff worked as an advertising executive with media companies including Time Inc. and Conde Nast. She lives in New York City.
Alex Tresniowski of New York City has been a senior writer for People Magazine since 1998. He is also the author of six books, including 2005’s The Vendetta, a true crime story purchased by Universal Pictures and used as a basis for the 2009 Johnny Depp movie, Public Enemies.
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