Stories of Kindness from Around the World

The Wondorous Oragami Man


--by sam7757, posted Mar 3, 2007

My friend, Gayla and I were traveling to Phoenix from Chicago. I misread the ticket, and we missed our flight. I was busy being upset about my failed plans when Gayla suggested we just fly wherever we want instead, since we had the time.

I think about missing my flight to Phoenix and going to San Francisco instead. It taught me a lot about being open to what is, not attached to what I want, and how things unexpected can happen. Long story but while Gayla and I were in San Fran, this strange thing happened. It made me think maybe I should start to trust the natural course of things more, instead of always thinking I know what is best and trying to control things.

Did I see an angel or go or santa while in San Francisco? I don’t know what he was, but he was not of this realm, I don’t think. Here is the little story about someone I call Origami Man:

Gayla and I were sitting in a 1950s style diner in downtown San Francisco, waiting to be seated. A waitress walked by playing with a origami animal and showing her co-workers. We were seated, looked to our left, and across the aisle was an elderly man with a mischievous smile and twinkling eyes. He was watching a waitress nearby, as if waiting to ask something. As soon as she is free, he hands her an origami bird. He smiles, says nothing.

He almost could be homeless, but he is too well groomed, his jeans and sneakers clean, and he is wearing a "Crimson Tide of Alabama" sweatshirt under his leather jacket. I catch his eye, he smiles.

While we go about ordering breakfast, he removes a piece of square blue paper and makes some folds. In a moment, he slides across the aisle to our table, presents a sky blue origami crane to Gayla and smiles. He returns to his seat, saying nothing. We are all smiles, amused, intrigued and pleased at the unsolicited gift. Sometime during breakfast, we are bestowed another gift, a light grey frog.

He sits eating his waffles with whipped cream and strawberries, and waits a moment for another opportunity to shine his light towards another life. He says nothing, smiles and watches. As we get up to leave, the waitress presents our check, and I ask if she has his check. She does.  I take it and pay for his breakfast. He thanks me on the way to the restroom, just in front of the cash register. He hands Gayla an origami cube fashioned with printed patterns of paper. I know he thanked me, but I am not sure he actually spoke. His smile and eyes transformed the moment into something unearthly. Suspended in time for a second, I paid and we left.

Not long after, but miles away, while riding a public transportation train to the Pacific Ocean beachfront, who boards the train and sits in front of us? Origami Man! He smiles, presents a beautiful origami box so small it should be used for the brightest gem, or some other large treasure of small size. He sits, waits his turn to enter another's life for just a second. A father with a typically squirmy 3 or 4 year old boy boards, sits and tries to quiet and entertain his son. Origami Man waits for what to him is the exact right moment, presents a finger puppet of paper to the boy, who now is happy, smiling and enthralled with the gift. Origami Man is pleased, I know, but he does not communicate verbally.

Once we say something, he answers, but we have no idea what he said. I don’t know if it was the noise of the train, his voice, or our ears. I think we were not supposed to understand. Before he leaves the train, he touches the life of another little passenger. I have the idea he is not just getting off this train, but this planet as he exits. He visited to bring joy, smiles, maybe to remind himself what happens here in this realm. I don’t know. But he leaves, and I am sure I have witnessed something extraordinary.

I think you had to be there to understand the magic in what I saw. Words are insufficient.

I do know this. Let yourself be open to what IS, not attached to what you want things to be and trust yourself. Magic can happen.

A few years later, I moved to a house that had a mold problem. Over the course of months, my material possessions became a health hazard for me. After moving to a new house, and destroying all my personal belongings, I was realizing the emotional attachment I had with my ‘stuff’ and missed it at the holidays.

I received a holiday card from Gayla. We had lost contact with each other, and she was not aware of my situation. In the envelope was the gray origami frog. He still sits in my living room to remind me of the threads that connect our experiences, and how life can amaze me if I let it.

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Readers Comments

psr wrote: Quite nice :)
Spoonerism wrote: Hi sam! I think i must have read this story at some point and it inspired me to learn a little origami. I like to make mandalas but they need a desk, compass and colours and take time. Origami is a much more portable way to randomly offer a gift to someone when on the tube in london or on the train or just walking around. I've been making origami jumping frogs for kids for a while now and got a book on origami for my birthday! I plan to practise and then i can start to give out presents to adults too! Thanks for sharing!
Alyse wrote: Life can be amazing when we are 'open to possiblities. '
Jody wrote: I enjoyed the story very much. It made me smile!
maggots wrote: I have four young boys and its so easy to get caught up in the humdrum of life,moments like this are so special and if we keep our eyes and hearts open they are more often than we think.
kirti wrote: i do believe that miracles happen. it happens when i close my eyes with a maala of beads in my hands whispering OM.... and when i close my eyes and stop my tears from coming out of my eyes..... GOD comes and holds me. GOD sits beside me to tell that he is there always with me , in me as my BESTEST FRIEND BELOVED.
Kay Atwell wrote: It was a wonderful story. It brought to mind the saying " Don't Sweat the small things in life". and " Turn a negative into a Postive". Thank you for that reminder. Happy New Year. God Bless
lOVEBUG wrote: We do not understand, because God's voice is silent, we never know when a angel will cross our path, but we are aware when they do.
Joy wrote: The older I get(mid 40's) the more i realize that talk is cheap - its what we do that matters - Thanks for sharing this story...
Linus wrote: Cool!! this reminds me, from not to worry about the uncertainty, likewise unplanned happenings

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