The Kindness of This One Particular Stranger
If you know her, casually let her know that she made me a better person.
Here's a quick scene that restored my faith in people and reminded me that, as a person, I am a real jerk sometimes:
A few weeks ago, I came off 89 in West Lebanon (again) to run errands. At the light at the end of the ramp, an elderly man stood on the curb. He made as if to cross in front of me, and then stepped back. He started forward again, and then stepped back.
His fidgeting made me nervous, and therefore annoyed. Because of course, it would ruin my day to accidentally whack this man with my car.
“Come on buddy, are you staying or going?” I mumbled.
At that moment I heard someone say, “do you need some help?”
The woman beside me, also waiting at the light, had
gotten out of her car. Without waiting for an
answer from the man, she darted in front of me and stepped onto the curb. She took the man’s
hand in hers.
Suddenly I realized he wasn’t indecisive. He was actually trying to scale a pile of snow in front of the curb, on legs that looked like they’d lived some life.
The woman helped him over the snow bank and guided him
across the ramp exit. “Just be careful,” she said as he went on his way, “it’s
a little slippery.” She hopped back in her car. The light turned green right
then, as if the universe were patiently waiting for this moment to pass.
It never would have occurred to me to help that man. As I drove off, I felt so ashamed of that.
But now I want to do better, and that's why I love this place. The Upper Valley will always remind you of the good in the world, whether it’s a farmer’s market, or a box collecting food donations, or a good soul on a curb whose small act of kindness made a big impression on me.
I can’t wait to pay this one forward.