DENVER — Moving to a new city on your own is a tough situation. It’s something Morkos Henen has done many times.
“I am originally Egyptian, but I have been everywhere in the world,” Morkos said. “I did my PhD in Vienna, Austria. Then I moved for a post-doc in France. Then I came to the United States: San Antonio, Pittsburgh and then from Pittsburgh to here.”
Morkos has lived in Denver for about a year and a half. He’s a staff scientist at CU Anschutz Medical Campus doing research in molecular genetics. It’s an incredibly demanding job which keeps Morkos busy most of the time.
He loves his work, and the people he works with, but on New Year’s Eve he took some time for himself to check out the Blossoms of Light display at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Morkos was feeling the distance between his him, his friends and his family that day.
“Living here alone especially during this Christmas season you feel like you’re alone in a city with nobody you know around,” Morkos said.
On his way home he noticed Omonia Bakery. The little Greek cafe on Colfax seemed familiar to him.
“Once I got in, the place reminded me so much of the small bakery shops I used to see in Vienna, but also the ones I used to see during Christmas in Egypt,” he said.
Some delicious chocolate cookies were calling his name. He ordered them up and got in line to pay when something happened.
“There’s only one cashier here,” he said. “There was one lady in front of me, so I was told it would take a bit of time until it would be my turn to pay because she was purchasing more stuff. Then this lady she decided to do the nicest thing I have seen in a while. She told me she was going to pay for my cookies.”
Morkos protested. He told the woman paying the $5 for the cookies was really no trouble for him.
The stranger just kept telling him, “It’s something from a good heart. Happy New Year.”
He was a little baffled by the situation at the moment, but while walking home with a fresh bag of cookies gifted to him by a complete stranger he realized what just happened.
“Actually it made my day,” he said. “When you’re alone in the city especially during the Christmas season you really just want somebody to show some interest. She didn’t know me and she did that.”
Morkos said he hopes this isn’t the last time a Coloradan does something kind for someone they don’t know.
"Some small gestures like that to anybody even if you don’t know them they mean something. I’m sure she went home and forgot about it, but for me, it was something big. If you can do something nice for somebody just do it because you don’t know how you’re influencing that person."