From my personal experience, New Yorkers do not easily engage with total strangers. We approach some new face with great caution until we know for sure that it is safe to say “hello.”
It is for that reason that I share a story that reflects what America needs now more than ever. It is fresh in my mind because it happened only a few short days ago.
My wife Suzan elected to have some serious surgery at a respected hospital.
The operation commenced late in the day and it wasn’t until early evening that she was out of the recovery room.
As this was one of her first trips to a hospital in more than 25 years, I shared her anxiety, hoping nothing would go wrong.
Somewhere around 11 p.m. it was time to leave and as I approached the elevator, I spotted a mother and daughter who were waiting as well.
This total stranger took one look at me and said, “do you know what you could use? A big hug.” I was taken aback and said “if it’s OK with your daughter, I will take it.”
She proceeded to give me the biggest and strongest hug that I could have ever hoped for.
And after a brief thank you, she disappeared into the city night.
Somehow, after wrestling with the news of 14 bombs being sent to prominent Americans and the senseless slaughter of 11 people, I thought that now more than ever our country needs a big hug from someone in a position to be our comforter-in-chief.
I want to believe that out there in the future some person, man or woman, someday will fulfill that role of providing us with a kind word, a soothing thought and some grand gesture that will make all Americans feel a little better in times of great distress.
Regrettably, our current President Donald Trump has never been able to rise to the occasion when we were hurting as a nation.
His reaction to the Charlottesville tragedy was met with “there are good persons on both sides.”
His suggestion that the recent synagogue shooting could have been avoided if there was an armed security guard on the premises was straight from the NRA handbook.
Our media has shown the entire world examples of how presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama were able to soothe the sorrow of so many broken hearts with words of meaningful comfort.
Sadly, this president doesn’t possess the empathy that is desperately needed at this time to heal a wounded nation.
I hope that at some point in time a person will emerge, be they a Democrat or a Republican, to give us that big hug that we all so desperately need.
Former State Assemblyman Jerry Kremer is a columnist for Anton Media Group and partner at Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.