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Another interesting day

2022.03.26 20:02

강창오 조회 수:15

“Achoo!” I couldn’t hold in a sneeze while taking a sip of coffee that had tickled my throat. I startled myself and looked around the corner of the shopping mall. A young man who was entering the adjacent shop said “Bless you” to me in a beaming face. I said “Thank you” and got my head around. A woman who looked local, about mid-40s was sitting the other side of the table said, “It went down the wrong pipe" pointing at my coffee cup. She then produced a tissue packet and asked if I wanted to use it. I thanked her and tried to pick a piece out. She said, “You can have this whole packet” and showed me an extra packet taking out of her pocket.

I took the packet but was curious about her accent. I asked her what her mother tongue was. She said “Armenian”. I said “Oh, are you from Yerevan, next to Baku of Azerbaijan?”. She looked a bit surprised and said, “You know the region quite well. But I was born and bred in Khartoum Sudan”. “Sudan? It must’ve been unusual detour for you get to London leaving from Yerevan”, I jokingly added. She explained happily, “My father in fact lived in Turkey and the Turks began to persecute Christians. He and fellow Armenians escaped in a ship which happened to land in Sudan. He later joined British Army, fought during the WWII and emigrated to the UK in 1971 when I was seven years old”.

While we were talking the young man who had said “Bless you” to me earlier came out and stood by her. I realised that he might’ve been her son or they were evidently related. I sort of responded her in a few things with the geographical features of Armenia and Sudan which clearly impressed her. And then, I asked if her father’s escape from the persecution took place when the genocide against Armenians was being carried out by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). She immediately stood up in awe and bowed and thanked me many times. She emphasised that I was the first person she met in the UK, who was understanding their painful past. The young man also smiled and nodded at me in appreciative way. This time, I stood up and said, “It was nice to have met you and talked with you. I’ve got to go”. She almost grabbed my hand but put her hand out firmly for a handshake. I had to decline it due to the situation, put my elbow out instead and then we departed.

On returning to the car park, I first scanned my ticket which shown £4.00 on the screen but the coin slot was still shut. I was briefly puzzled with and, then a young Asian (Indian origin?) girl threw a word over my shoulder. “It is card only”. “Oh”, I was about to move to another machine located the other side. She then, unexpectedly put her card on the button and said, “Done”. I thanked her and tried to give her the money. She said, “Don’t worry, you don’t need. You may share it with someone who needs”. I was quite touched by her instant act and kind words.

“There are still good hearted people around”, I thought to myself. It was another day I came out to explore out of boredom but rather an interesting one.