LIVINGSTON, NJ - Laura Schroff, co-author of An Invisible Thread, spoke to over 100 attendees at Temple B’nai Abraham’s Sisterhood Speaker Series on Monday April 7, as she explored with compassion and humor the role of destiny and the invisible threads that connect everyone. She shared her perspective against the backdrop of her inspiring story of an 11- year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and their unlikely meeting with destiny in 1986.
As a 35-year-old advertising executive working in Manhattan, Laura Schroff said she had become accustomed to the homeless people who populated the city landscape, but one Monday morning, an 11-year-old panhandler named Maurice “tugged at her heart with the words ‘I'm hungry.’”
“As I walked past Maurice he said, ‘Excuse me lady, do you have any spare change, I’m hungry?’ I said, ‘No,” and kept walking—but for reasons that were unknown to me at the time, something made me stop, and I went back to the boy and offered to buy him lunch at McDonald’s. He just looked like a really good kid to me who was stuck in a really bad world,” Schroff recalled.
“We shared a lunch, met the following Monday for dinner, and we ultimately met every Monday for the next four years and hundreds of times thereafter,” she explained.
When Maurice revealed that there was no food in his drug-infested home, Laura said she began packing him a brown bag lunch each morning. She left the lunch with her doorman, and Maurice picked it up on his way to school.
Twenty-seven years after their initial meeting, Laura said that she and Maurice Mazyck continue to maintain a close friendship. Schroff, whose mother died when she was 25, said, “I believe my mother put Maurice in my life because he really needed me, but I also really needed him.”
Schroff documents her life-changing journey with Maurice in the book she co-authored with Alex Tresniowksi, An Invisible Thread, which was named for an ancient Chinese proverb: “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”
Describing the concept of destiny that forges powerful connections between strangers, the New York Times bestselling-book has given Schroff a larger platform for fighting childhood hunger, with a portion of the book's sales benefitting the No Kid Hungry campaign. Schroff said she hopes that her story will inspire others to show compassion through small acts of kindness, and encouraged readers to share their invisible-thread stories.
At the end of the talk, Schroff reiterated, “We met and I don’t believe it was an accident. There are those invisible threads that connect people and I believe that we were destined to be connected. As much as he needed me, I needed him.”