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An Invisible Thread

The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny

By Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
16-minute read
Audio available
An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

An Invisible Thread (2011) recounts the story of the incredible and unlikely friendship between a successful businesswoman and a poverty-stricken young boy – a friendship that ultimately changed both of their lives forever.

  • Anyone who enjoys a heartwarming story
  • People curious about 1980s New York
  • Those interested in the benefits of altruism

Laura Schroff is a former ad executive for numerous publications, including USA Today, People magazine and InStyle.

Alex Tresniowkski is a senior writer for People magazine and author of The Vendetta, which inspired Public Enemies, the 2009 Michael Mann movie. His other books include Labor of Love and When Life Gives You Lemons.

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An Invisible Thread

The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny

By Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
Synopsis

An Invisible Thread (2011) recounts the story of the incredible and unlikely friendship between a successful businesswoman and a poverty-stricken young boy – a friendship that ultimately changed both of their lives forever.

Key idea 1 of 10

An invisible thread may connect the people who are destined to meet.

Maybe it sounds cheesy, but some chance encounters seem to be guided by fate. At least that’s how it seemed when the author, Laura Schroff, and Maurice Mazyck met on the busy streets of downtown New York City on Labor Day in 1986.

Laura Schroff, Caucasian and single at the age of 35, was a successful advertising executive for USA Today. Maurice was an eleven-year-old African American kid on the verge of homelessness.

Laura had plenty of reasons to keep on walking when Maurice asked her for spare change. She didn’t have to stop and take him to McDonald’s for lunch. After all, she was a busy advertising executive; her schedule was tight, and stopping to treat eleven-year-olds to lunch was certainly not part of it.

Furthermore, the mid-1980s witnessed a dramatic widening of the gap between rich and poor; more and more people were forced to live on the street. Because poverty was so prevalent, it would have been easy for Laura to ignore Maurice and simply continue on her way.

So why did she stop? The only explanation Laura can give is that the hand of destiny somehow guided this chance meeting. There is a Chinese proverb that speaks of an invisible thread that connects those that are destined to meet; in other cultures, it’s been called a string of fate or a thread of destiny.

Whether it was fate or serendipity, Laura stopped in her tracks that afternoon, and rather than just giving Maurice the spare change he had asked for, she took him to lunch. With this action she began a friendship that would continue for the next 30 years.

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