As I left the restaurant and waited at the bus stop to get the bus that would take me back to my hotel, the public phone behind me started to ring. I decided to ignore it at first but the person on the other end was very persistent so, finally, I couldn’t resist, and being a little bored waiting for the bus to show up, I couldn’t resist the temptation anymore and answered the phone.
A voice on the other end had a British accent and sounded vaguely familiar to me. “Hello? Stella?”
“No, sorry.” I answered, “you must have the wrong number.”
Suddenly, at that very moment, there was a loud CRASH and I whirled to see the source of the noise. It was an accident, two cars had collided in the street very close to me.
The voice on the other end said, “Wow, what was that noise? Are you okay?”
I told him what had happened and debated hanging up on him to aid the crash victims. But a crowd had already gathered around the two vehicles. For some reason unbeknown to me at that time, the voice on the other end of the phone intrigued me and I wanted to keep talking.
I asked, “What number were you dialing?” and then told him the number that he had dialed.
Again, just at that very moment, a singing street group came around the corner and they were singing a song by my favorite group, The Beatles. The song was “Hey Jude”.
The voice on the other end said, “Do I hear singing?” and then continued to ask, “Where did I call?”
I told him that I was in New York City and had just left a restaurant and was waiting for a bus to take me back to my hotel and that this was the public phone outside of the restaurant. It amazed me that I was even telling a stranger on the phone this as, normally, I’m a very private person and would never disclose that sort of information to a stranger, especially over the phone. But I figured there was no harm in doing so because I hadn’t said the name of the restaurant and New York City was a big city. And again, his voice had a vaguely familiar sound to it and, for some reason, I wasn’t afraid to divulge anything to him.
He started singing along with the singing street group on his end of the phone and was clearly having a great time. And it was pleasant to listen to him as his singing voice was just as nice as his speaking voice.
Right before we said our goodbyes, he commented that he had realized his mistake in dialing. The phone number he was trying to dial was off by one number. “That’s what I get for being in a hurry”, he said. “I was supposed to meet my daughter, Stella, for dinner and now I’m REALLY going to be late.”
I proceeded to tell him good luck in reaching his daughter and that I hoped she wouldn’t be too upset with him.
He then said, “Yep, just because I’m Paul McCartney doesn’t mean I can’t make mistakes!” And then he was gone.
I sat there staring at the phone in my hand. Being a Beatles fan my whole life, I suddenly realized why his voice had sounded so familiar. That voice was drilled in my head and in my heart.
As I rode back to the hotel on the bus, I was in numb shocked disbelief. I had almost decided not to answer the phone. As it was, I spoke to Paul McCartney!
Of course, nobody was going to believe me but I didn’t care. I knew the truth.