Janna came home last night and presented me with eleven giant, red, heart-shaped helium balloons.
She apologized one was missing.
She told me on her way home from teaching American Sign Language at New York University she found a guy selling bunches of balloons for .64 cents each. She bought a dozen.
Waiting for a PATH train at the Christopher Street station, a man tried to strike up a conversation with her.
The guy followed her onto the train and persisted in trying to speak with her. Wrangling twelve helium balloons onto a packed train is no easy task.
Janna finally understood the guy was asking her about her balloons. She nodded and told him she paid .64 cents for each one.
The guy shook his head and pulled out a dollar. Tired from a day of working and a night of teaching, Janna didn’t understand what the guy wanted.
He pointed to the balloons and then to his dollar. She finally understood he wanted to buy a balloon from her and she felt a little insulted he was trying to pay her for an act of kindness.
Janna used her voice and said to the guy, “I don’t want your money. If you want a balloon, you can have a balloon.”
She untied one of her helium hearts and handed it to him as he again tried to give her a dollar. She took his hand in hers, crumpled the dollar bill back into his fist and pressed his hand away and wished him a happy Valentine’s Day.
When she told me that story and handed me eleven heart-shaped balloons, I never felt more loved or luckier to have such a fantastic and selfless woman in my life. Janna willingly gave away one of her hearts with no strings attached. She does that every day.
Here’s an image of the great gift she gave me yesterday and I wore it to bed last night while eleven heart-shaped balloons danced above my head.
Sometimes eleven adds up to more than twelve.