Christmas Eve, 10 p.m. Almost everything was closed, except a fried chicken restaurant in Union Plaza.

My wife and I ordered some chicken. When I reached for my wallet, I found my pocket empty, the wallet sitting home on the dresser. Embarrassed, I explained to the young man behind the counter that I had no money. We turned to leave when he placed our order in front of us and insisted we should eat. Money was not the object. We had no choice but to accept his generosity.

We were two people sharing one of the basic pillars of civilized society: nourishment.

Our respective ancestors came from the same area of our planet, yet we are supposed to hate each other.

Together, we both recognized the humanity in each other. He, the need to feed a hungry person, and me, to accept his gift.

Are we really supposed to hate each other?

George Silverman

Portland