Sunday, January 18, 2009

"I've always depended on the kindness of strangers..."

Here is a post I wrote over break, but never quite posted. Now as I pack for Philly and have no time to do a real update, I thought I would share this story...
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Driving on my way back from New Hampshire today I felt a feeling I don't often feel. It was one of those things you've never experienced before, yet the instant it occurs you know exactly what it is. 

Driving West on the Mass-turnpike my foot pushed through the pedal as the speedometer slowly sputtered towards zero. I had noticed that my gas gauge was low during my drive. But it was not until just then that I realized my father had put black tape over the gas light (why, I have no idea). So I turned on my hazards, lowered my speed to 40mph, and coasted between neutral and drive, hoping to find a gas station nearby. Sadly I was out of luck. No ramps seemed to be in sight. But lucky I did spot a frozen lake with some houses nearby. And if living in upstate New York has taught me anything, it's that eighty-percent of people who live on frozen lakes own snow-mobiles. And snow-mobiles mean gas. 

So I pulled over to the side of the road, and began to walk through the snow towards the houses. I found my way around an empty house, and headed towards a more occupied looking hotel/lodge. Luckily there was an occupant, and he was happy to give me a small amount of gas. So I trekked back to my car, and filled it with about a gallon of gas. 

On my way back I thought how nice it was that a complete stranger was willing to help me out. And I was thinking about how many places on earth this type of neighborliness could still be found. In a book I've recently finished there was a line claiming something along the lines of, "... as soon as m'am and sir go out the door the world's in a whole lotta trouble." Which I do believe in. I think it starts with kindness, and it starts with manners. People should treat people as equals, and with the same compassion they would want to be treated with as well. And it worries me that the type of warmth that was shown to me by the young boy by the lake is getting harder and harder to find these days. 

Maybe it's all just me getting older. But something else tells me it's just me getting wiser. 

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