the kndness of strangersDecember 9, 2007
So last night I went to a Christmas party. We’ve gone to this particular party for 14 years running, at least I have; sometimes my husband stays home. So I alone will be eligible for some kind of special prize at year 20, they tell me.
Anyway, I stayed too late. Traditionally the party doesn’t run late but there was a game of 80s Trivial Pursuit going on, with a handful of people that I hadn’t seen in years, and the next thing I knew it was midnight. Those of us who had stayed late were treated with a magnificent ice storm in which to drive home. Drag.
I took my normal route which is a relatively straight shot, only to be greeted by a bevy of police cars attending to a four-car accident. Right before the bridge over the river, which meant that traffic was being re-routed in either direction. So I had to drive down to the next town, basically, to get across the river and continue home. I was slightly irritated but grateful that I wasn’t in one of those four cars.
I turned on to the main stretch of road that would (eventually) take me home and saw that ahead there was a train at the Crossing From Hell, which is one of the reasons I don’t take that road normally. It’s not uncommon to be stuck at this particular crossing for 10-15 minutes while multiple freight trains inch through. During an ice storm? I was wishing I’d brought my knitting bag.
So I pulled up, threw the car in park, and rolled my window down so I could try and chip off the layer of ice on my side-view mirror. My scraper was too big, though, so it was a pathetic attempt. I closed the window and was considering getting out and scraping off my winshield again, when I saw a man approaching my car waving a wee bitty scraper.
At 12:45 a.m., in the middle of an ice storm, this guy jumped out of his warm car and came over to scrape off my mirror. How flippin’ sweet is that?
I rolled down the window and chatted with him while he chipped away, thanked him and wished him a safe trip home. And while I battled ice on my winshield the rest of my drive, my mirror stayed clear and I thought to myself, thank God this man wasn’t afraid that I would flip out having a stranger approach my car in the dark of night. He just saw a situation where he could help, a small gesture of kindness, and he did it.
Warms the heart, eh?