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There is an angel in Manhattan. He works at the Chop’t on Broadway and 41st. His name is Erwin.

Two weeks ago I was having a bad day and went to Chop’t to get my favorite Santa Fe salad. I had just handed my Chop’t rewards card and debit card to blessed Erwin when he informed me my card had been declined.

I’m not going to lie, my budget has been tight this fall – but I definitely had $10 in my account for a salad. I assured him there was a mistake and that I’d check my bank account and be back to pay for my salad. But when I sat down for some reason Verizon 4G failed me and I was unable to open my banking app. I wasn’t even able to use the web browser to look up PNC’s customer support phone number.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I cry very easily. So as a result of stress from a bad day, sheer hunger, and the thought of being abandoned in Midtown with no cash and no access to money I began to tear up while trying to figure out a way to contact my bank. I’ve had my debit card hacked twice and didn’t want to deal with that again.

While restarting my phone Erwin approached carrying my salad and said not to worry about paying that he had comped it. I was flabbergasted. I was even more flabbergasted when he gave me my salad, wished me good luck, and walked away. Any other time I’ve received a free food or drink item in this city it has been accompanied by some unwanted conversation and/or creepy proposition.  But this kind person just left me with my meal to eat in peace.

Once I figured out there was no problem and PNC Bank’s security is extremely careful and had access to my account once again I went up to pay for my salad. Erwin refused to let me pay for his dinner after he had used his employee comp for my salad. I pleaded with him to let me pay and he refused and told me to have a great night. Accepting defeat, I left Chop’t with tears brimming in my eyes. This time I was crying from sheer amazement.

It’s so easy to assume this city is full of jerks when no one will apologize for pushing past you on the subway platform. But as long as Erwin is in this city I know of at least one person who redeems humanity.

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