The Bathroom Encounter That Led To A Hug

By Carolyn K Erwin • August 29, 2017

I had an odd experience in Wilmington, Delaware—

I walked into the ladies bathroom at the train station, and saw a woman standing in her underwear at the sink. She appeared to be in her 20's. Not wanting to stare, I moved quickly into a stall thinking to myself, "Wow, what's that all about?" When I emerged from the stall, I noticed that the young woman was now dressed in a pair of tight-fitting grey sweat pants and a top. I took the sink next to her. Breaking the silence as I washed my hands, I said to her, "I was concerned about you." She neither looked at me nor responded. I watched her out the corner of my eye as she cupped water in her hand and washed her face. I noticed she must care about how she looks.

"Do you want to know why I was concerned about you?" I continued, hoping to start a dialogue with her. But she remained silent. While I dried my hands, this woman began packing her belongings into an already overstuffed lime green leather backpack. I looked up, and she had left hurriedly without a word. Just then I noticed a black cloth item on the floor under the sink where she had been standing. I picked it up and raced out of the bathroom to look for her.

I spied her across the crowded train terminal walking fast toward the exit. I gave chase calling out to her, "Miss, Miss," Finally, she looked in my direction. Holding the black cloth up in the air, I asked, "Is this yours?" She looked, then started swiftly towards it, not me. I felt like I was returning something that was truly valuable to her. If everything you own can be stuffed into a backpack, I guess you don't want to lose any piece of it. As she reached for her item, I reached for her like a mother would, and whispered, "Can I get a hug?" Although we hugged for only a moment, it felt real. And when it was over, we each went our separate way. As I reflected on this encounter, I wondered how long it had been since this young girl had felt the human touch of someone who wasn't a predator?


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