From Monday's New York Times Dear Diary Column.
By JOE ROGERS
Experience is a great teacher, and this California-based octogenarian learned a memorable lesson on a New York subway train more than five decades ago.
Visiting New York, I boarded a subway car in Midtown, heading uptown to a technical meeting at Columbia University. I struck up a conversation with a man sitting next to me, and he informed me that he was the official house magician at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. This unusually interesting revelation to an out-of-towner resulted in a lively conversation between us, terminated only many minutes later when he stood up to exit the car at a stop just before mine.
As he approached the door, he suddenly wheeled around and handed me my wallet and wristwatch. I had felt absolutely no physical contact whatsoever during the entire ride, but his warm and wise smile taught me what he must have generously thought I needed to know.