A young woman goes to the Laundromat and puts in a load of laundry. When it is done she puts her clothes in the dryer and sits next to an old lady who is mumbling. She realizes the woman is not mumbling; she's actually praying, offering up a prayer mantra of some kind that she cannot quite discern.
And so she sits with her for a while and then this lady gives her a card that says “You might be wondering why I come here. I lost my son in the Vietnam War and this is where he used to do his laundry and so I come here to pray for him.
The young woman came at the same time each week and would sit with the old lady way past the time that the laundry was finished.
One day the woman who was doing the silent witnessing found the older woman to not be there. Over the weeks she realized she was no longer coming back. Then one day another woman showed up. She was much younger and well-dressed and was looking around for somebody. They struck up a conversation and it turns out this was the daughter of the old lady who had been praying for her son. The mother had asked her daughter to give a note to the woman who had been sitting silently with her.
“In the beginning when I came to this place I came in sorrow. I sat and remembered my boy and prayed. People cast glances my way and acted as if I were a bit crazy. I sat in the same place he sat and prayed that he would know I love him still and that I was so proud to be his mother.
One day you came and sat beside me. As time went by you continued to come.
I said my prayers in your presence. I wondered how you could understand, let alone decipher what I was saying. Somehow you understood. In this life I try to be good, to be someone who others can look up to and I feel that my intentions were always to assist never to harm anyone. You asked me for nothing and you gave me something that I will carry until with me until I leave this Earth. You gave me acceptance and respect and treated me with a gentle regard for the person I was. What you may not realize was that coming here became a time I truly looked forward to. I looked forward to meeting you dear friend. I never even knew your name. I'm going to meet my son very soon. I wanted to write this while my mind was clear and my daughter Alice would carry my wishes to you. Your presence and acceptance has meant so much to me. No one has ever been so kind without expecting something in return. You gave me the priceless the gift of acceptance and time spent with an old lady that others had decided was sick. I will forever be in your debt and you'll forever be in my heart.