She was standing on the median strip between opposite sides of an eight lane highway. The light turned red, and as I slowed to a stop I read part of the small handmade sign she carried: "Bone Marrow Transplant..." and a name, which I've forgotten. For once, I had a few dollars so I opened my jacket pocket, dug out my wallet, pulled out a couple bucks, and waved them in front of the open window. The young woman stepped off the median and expertly wove her way around and between the idling cars. She approached my open window, holding two bottles of water in her outstretched hand, and I handed her the dollar bills.
"Only one," I said, meaning the water. "One," she said.
The light changed to green, and the woman was gone, just that fast. The transaction took maybe 2 minutes, at most. As I drove away I wondered who needed the bone marrow transplant-- her sister, parent, brother, husband. A laid off co - worker? Or maybe her child? How many days had she been out there, trading bottled water for cash donations, and how many more will she need to be, before she raises enough money for a bone marrow transplant.