She had always wanted to be a parking meter cop.

It wasn’t the most glorious of professions for Samantha to aspire to, but then, Sam didn’t have much going for her. The youngest in a family of five, she was the dorky kid in school that everyone ostracized as the nerdy one – but wasn’t actually as smart as her coke-bottle glasses led them all to believe.

Every day at recess she had sat alone, sitting on the swingset, watching the meter lady wander down the row of cars parked opposite the school. Putting little notes down every so often. Jotting down information in a slim little notebook.

She had always wanted to have that much control over the lives of others. She had always wanted to have that much control over her own.

She hadn’t made it into the police academy when she grew up. Instead, she had a job in the evenings as janitor in the same school she had spent her youth in, the same squat brick building that it had been a dozen years ago. Every night she would prowl its halls, mopping and cleaning, swabbing and sweeping.

But during the day… during the day she would walk the streets of the city, notepad in hand. She would jot down the number on each car she passed. And from another pad of paper she would tear out a single page and write upon it. Her words didn’t mean much, and came out far more jumbled on the page then they were in her head – but each one unique in its own way. She was always sad that what she did would mean so little, but that didn’t stop her daily work upon the city streets.

“Four door corolla
Upon a noose twists a cat
Peering through the glass.”

Each day the owner of the car would return to their vehicle, and spy a single slip of paper left beneath their wiper. They would unfold it, surprised, for it was neither ticket nor flyer nor any of the myriad irritations they expected. A few simple words – and nothing more. And for each of them, they would have lost a moment of their life… and replaced it with a momentary sense of wonder.

A little change, as these things go. Alone. But a thousand moments add together into a thousand small smiles, a thousand open hearts, and a thousand lives made the better for a single moment’s work.