A pair of high-spirited teenage girls scurried across a busy Manhattan intersection, braving the crowds and frosty weather to hit one more Fifth Avenue shop before closing time. I was a step behind them as they passed a Salvation Army Santa ringing his bell and a traffic cop in earmuffs.
"Merry Christmas!" one of the girls sang out to the policeman, who returned the greeting with a big smile and a wave.
Right away the mood changed.
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