Kindness of Strangers

just when you think the world is a dark and dangerous place,
along comes something to change your mind.

I used to think the world was a dark and dangerous place. Well, to a certain extent, I still do. Being blond and female, I feel particularly vulnerable. But I've discovered that there are still good Samaritans in the world, to coin a Biblical phrase.

This particular reassurance happened during the last week of my summer job. I worked in Stamford, the town adjacent to the one I live in. After leaving work on my second-to-last day, I was about to hop on the highway when a man leaned out of his car and informed me that my tire was flat. Shit. I didn't know how to get to a gas station or even a place to pull over. I wasn't totally surprised by the flat, because I'd just gotten a roofing-nail induced hole plugged in that very tire (that sucker was huge!).

So I circled the block, found a tiny parking lot to pull into, and got out to survey the damage. At this point I wasn't worried so much as angry that I'd wasted eight bucks on a lousy plug job. But a moment later I realized that I had no idea how to change a truck tire, or, in fact, any tire.

Lo and behold, who should pull in behind me but a man and woman in an ugly little black car. They climbed out, offered help, and immediately got to work changing the tire.

If not for these two kind people, I'd probably still be stuck in Stamford trying to get the jack put together or the spare off the bottom of the truck. Because these people stopped, not only did my tire get changed lickety-split, but I learned by observing how to change a tire myself. They even led me through back roads to the nearest gas station in my town so that I could get the tire repaired. I kept thanking them over and over, for lack of any other way to express my gratitude.

Although I believe in the essential goodness of human nature, I count myself extremely lucky to have been rescued by these generous people. These days, even stopping to help someone change a tire is a task few people would give up their time for. Time is so precious that for two people to give up thirty minutes of their day to help a complete stranger is amazing. And having been done a good turn, I now want to go out and do the same for someone else. And hey, next time I see some poor motorist with a flat tire, I'll know exactly what to do.


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this page by sparky ( )
written 08/10/98