Best time in New York didn't cost her a penny

For The Record

September 02, 2001|By Larry Bingham | Larry Bingham,Sun Staff

It was 12:15 p.m. when it happened.

Two women walked briskly up Fifth Avenue, discussing where they would lunch before catching The Full Monty and the evening bus back to Baltimore.

Farther up the street, in front of Tiffany & Co, was a 9-year-old boy from England. He had come with his grandparents from Rhode Island for a weekend of sightseeing, and he wore a camera around his wrist, because you never know who you might see in New York.

When his grandmother pointed out a skyscraper across the street, the boy looked up.

One of the Baltimore women, herself a grandmother, saw the two figures and thought, "Isn't that an adorable sight?"

Eleanor Abell Owen knew her grandson in England was coming for a summer visit with his other grandparents, but she didn't know when or where.

She continued to watch the pair as she walked up the street. She moved hurriedly because she seldom came to the city and she knew there were shoes and handbags (at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks) yet to be seen.

Then it happened. The figures came into focus.

"I couldn't believe it," she would say later. "Neither could they."

After all, what were the odds that a Baltimore grandmother would bump into her grandson from England on the streets of New York in the middle of a summer afternoon?

Rare enough that they stood on the sidewalk for 20 minutes, savoring their chance encounter, while the rest of the world stepped around them.

Luckily, the boy brought a camera. His grandfather took a snapshot, and in the photograph Scott Adams and his grandmother are smiling. Neither has mouth open or eyes closed. The picture is perfect.

Now what are the chances of that?

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