An east bound Long Island Rail Road train entering Jamaica...

An east bound Long Island Rail Road train entering Jamaica station Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

It happened on a return trip from South Carolina when, after a flight to New York, I boarded a Long Island Rail Road train at Jamaica Station headed for Central Islip, where a friend would pick me up. It was 2:30 in the afternoon and, much to my surprise, the train was crowded at that time of day.

I found a seat next to a young man. The train restarted and, after a while, I turned and asked, “Are you coming from work or school?”

“Neither,” he said. “I had other business in the city.”

I saw that he was good-looking, with a pleasant smile and compelling dark eyes. He explained he was a senior at Stony Brook University.

This was interesting to me. My granddaughter is a student there. He shared that he was a “student ambassador,” a program in which select students host events and act as envoys of the university. He gave me his card and offered to help my granddaughter should she have any questions or problems.

As the journey continued, our conversation expanded. Before long we were chatting like old friends. I told him I had lost my husband three years ago. He offered his sympathy. I continued to say that during the first year of my loss, I wrote a book dedicated to my husband. I called it “My Love.” I explained it was a story of two people sharing a beautiful love that sadly was interrupted by Alzheimer’s.

He told me his aspirations and what he proposed to do with his life. We covered a lot of different subjects, and then we expressed our concern for the present condition of our country — mainly, all the school shootings and blatant disregard for human life. The miles flew by and the difference in our ages seemed to disappear. We were simply new friends sharing our stories.

At this point, I surprised him by saying I had written a rap song. His eyes opened wide.

“Let me explain,” I said. “It’s a rap song with a positive message that addresses the current issues we struggle with, like drugs and bombs and shootings. I call it ‘Don’t Take the Rap.’ But I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Listen,” he said. “You’ve prepared the table, set the plates and lit the candles. Now you need to pour the wine.”

How poetic, I thought.

“You must get it out there,” he said. “I know if I heard about a rap song written by a grandmother, I’d be interested in hearing it. Can you give me a sample?”

“Sure,” I said. “It goes like this.” In my own rap rythmn, I recited it for him.

The Man moves out, and crack moves in, to steal away the youth;

And mothers cry, as babies die, small victims of the truth.

And boxes big and small, are lining up the halls, as guns and bombs

Invade our schools, and killing is the rule.

The Man represents law enforcement, and the song goes on with a plea to stop violence in society.

He smiled, said he liked it and asked me to email him a copy of the song.

We discussed some steps I could take to accomplish my dream. His final words were, “Be present to your greatness. Don’t let fear stop you from your dreams.”

I left the train thinking this young man is special. I’m sure he’ll touch many lives and accomplish great things. He touched mine. Motivated, I plan to make a demo recording and send it off to music labels.

I don’t know whether I’ll succeed, but I do know something special happened when this angel entered my life. His profound presence filled me and lit a warm light — an unexpected and unforgettable moment on the LIRR.

Reader Patricia M. Lazazzaro lives in Manorville.


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months