An Invisible Thread
The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny
When Laura Schroff brushed by a young panhandler on a New York City corner one rainy afternoon, something made her stop and turn back. She took the boy to lunch at the McDonald’s across the street that day. And she continued to go back, again and again for the next four years until both their lives had changed dramatically. Nearly thirty years later, that young boy, Maurice, is married and has his own family. Now he works to change the lives of disadvantaged kids, just like the boy he used to be.
An Invisible Thread is the true story of the bond between a harried sales executive and an eleven-year-old boy who seemed destined for a life of poverty. It is the heartwarming story of a friendship that has spanned three decades and brought meaning to an over-scheduled professional and hope to a hungry and desperate boy living on the streets.
Read an Excerpt
The boy is stuck in something like hell. He is six years old and covered in small red bites from chinches—bedbugs—and he is woefully skinny due to an unchecked case of ringworm. He is so hungry his stomach hurts, but then being hungry is nothing new to him. When he was two years old the pangs got so bad he rooted through the trash and ate rat droppings and had to... see more
“Excuse me, lady, do you have any spare change?”
This was the first thing he said to me, on 56th Street in New York City, right around the corner from Broadway, on a sunny September day.
And when I heard him, I didn’t really hear him. His words were part of the clatter, like a car horn or someone yelling... see more
We walked across the avenue to the McDonald’s, and for the first few moments neither of us spoke. This thing we were doing—going to lunch, a couple of strangers, an adult and a child—it was weird, and we both felt it.
Finally, I said, “Hi, I’m Laura.”
“I’m Maurice,” he... see more
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Book Cover Image (jpg): An Invisible Thread
eBook 9781451642926(0.5 MB)
Author Photo (jpg): Laura Schroff
Photograph by Joseph Moran(0.1 MB)
Author Photo (jpg): Alex Tresniowski
Photograph by Lorraine Stundis(0.1 MB)
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Reading Group Guide
It could have ended with a passing glance. He could have been just another panhandler, and she could have been one of many New Yorkers who simply walks on by. Instead, Laura Schroff stopped and bought lunch for eleven-year-old Maurice. From that day, their unique bond evolved into a profound friendship that changed the course of their lives in ways neither could have imagined.
TOPICS & QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. An Invisible Thread introduces readers to some of the realities of poor families living in large metropolitan cities. How would you characterize Maurice’s family life? What kind of differences do you think exist between urban and rural poverty?
2. Why do you think Maurice throws Laura’s business card away? How does trust influence the early stages of their friendship? What about later in their relationship
3. Laura’s grandfather would say “Il solo tempo lei dovrebbe baciare i sue bambini in quango dormono,” or “The only ti see more