I saw it on a utility pole, just outside of the main visitor's entrance to the United Nations. There, typed on plain white paper in unremarkable black font, was a love note for all of New York City to see. Or perhaps love 'quest' is a more apt description.
The heading: 'Seeking M15 Select Bus Girl.'
The mission: to find a girl who was riding Manhattan's northbound M15 bus at around 4:30 pm on July 9th.
She is described as 5'7 with long brown hair - in possession of a pair of 'distinct' purple sunglasses and of a picture frame she'd just purchased on 18th street.
He, the 'seeker' and author of the note, is described as tall - 6'4 - wearing a yellow jacket, as he'd just come from swim practice.
His name, apparently, is Conor. He didn't get the girl's name or her number but clearly he's trying to rectify that through his public posting.
I thought about Conor's note during my 20-minute walk home from my meetings at the U.N. I thought about the note throughout my evening with my family. And I thought about the note this morning when I woke. Each time, I smiled.
I have no idea who Conor is, how old he is, what he does for a living or what he wants to do with his life.
I do know in an age in which men needn't look further than an app that asks them to swipe left or right to connect them with a partner of their dreams (or love interest of the moment), Conor's gesture is refreshing.
From what I could tell, he'd not only taken the initiative to write the note I saw- but to print dozens of copies and paste them near bus stops up and down the entire M15 route.
That took time. That took effort. That took nerve.
I love that Conor put all of his contact information out there for a city of strangers to see. (If you are the girl with the purple sunglasses or know who she might be, he wants you to call him at 212 371 0918 or e mail him at email@example.com)
I love that, at the bottom of his love sign, he quotes Daniel Day Lewis in 'Last of the Mohicans' as his parting note of 'Inspiration': 'I will find you.' That's both romantic and bold.
I love most of all that Conor went out on a limb to find the girl.
At a time in which it's so easy to 'play it safe' - to limit all of our interactions to impersonal computer transactions, whether it's in ordering our food, applying for jobs, finding a date - it's remarkable that there's been so much effort made on the part of one young man to follow up on a human connection he made on a bus last week - in a bid to get the chance to connect on a very human level again.
So well-done, Conor. Some might call you a stalker. For all I know, you might be. But rather than thinking of you as a stalker, I'd like to think of you as a romantic.
Grand romantic gestures don't always work. But they rarely hurt.
Girl with the Purple Sunglasses - may you see Conor's note and may you respond. If he's putting himself out there for all the world to see, at least let him buy you a drink.
And as for you, Conor, not sure if you are looking for dinner and a movie, a summer fling, or something more.
I hope you find whatever it is you're looking for.
You've given an all-too-cynical and disconnected world something to smile about this summer. May you get something in return.
Mary Pflum Peterson is a multi-Emmy-award-winning TV journalist and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, White Dresses. She is also a huge fan of big romantic gestures like posting signs on city streets, as it reminds her of things her husband, Dean, has been known to do. She and Dean are raising their four young children in New York.